Insecurity, fear, inhibitions, lack of self-confidence and freezing up are some common plagues. Feeling great then all of a sudden feeling down, a spontaneous emotional drop in mood and energy, or any emotional swings without significant cause is another painful condition for many people.
This article which follows in the series starting with Which Is Better To Pursue; Enlightenment Or Emotional Independence examines these conditions and will hopefully shed enough light on the cause and thus a means of removing or reducing their effects on ones life.
The first point I would like to make is that if you suffer from these issues and have taken courses and read books, following the concept of self-acceptance, yet there is no significant change, that you open your mind to a simple yet obvious fact. You do not understand the concept of self-acceptance.
A major obstacle to change is our presumed intelligence at the simplest level of understanding concepts and words which appear very clear. The problem with this is that we stop at the surface level, accepting a very clear and logical explanation, yet never being able to integrate it into our life. The reason is simply that we do not understand it at a deep enough level, the level of the concept which was expressed in the words.
Self-acceptance is not a solution if your view of yourself has nothing to do with the problem. You can accept yourself all you want, but you will still have these same issues. Thus you personally have nothing to do with the problem. So then, what is the real problem?
The problem is not in the present, it is in the future. Self-acceptance is a matter of the present and the past. OK, that is all fine and well, but if your fear is about what happens in the future, then the past is not going to help you one bit, hence, self-acceptance does not eliminate your fears.
Now we must look at the cause of the fears etc. The primary fear which is what we will focus on now, is the fear of making a mistake, of being wrong.
A person with these issues is 100% certain in their subconscious that making a mistake will result in being permanently rejected. This is common in western society because we put so much emphasis on success. Even the whole new age movement and Law Of Attraction and other concepts for success which are supposed to help us can actually be working against the process of eliminating your emotional issues.
If your mind is strong and positive, then yes, those concepts can work very well, but if your issues are the ones of todays topic, then the results can be very different.
The very negative aspect of the whole ra ra-success-winner-great-awesome concept, is of course the reality of who gets the big fame and admiration, the winners in the race, not the losers. Although there is a movement towards making everyone a winner, this does not fool the subconscious. We cannot fool our wiser mind by surface tricks. We know the difference between winners and losers. We see that every day in sports, business, and inventive or intellectual achievements.
A culture that rewards success and correct answers implants in us a fear of making a mistake because that may end up in your being tossed aside. This belief is due to the way the mind works as it sees the great rewards to successful people, and automatically assumes the opposite result to failures.
This is how the mind works in this dualistic realm. It automatically knows the opposite will happen from the opposite event to anything even though there is no example or proof that the opposite result will occur. It is a matter of intellectual calculation towards progress and avoiding problems. If you put your hand in the fire, then you know the pain and thus learn not to touch anything burning. This is how we learn to protect ourselves, it is self preservation.
When a child sees great reward for success it automatically forms the concept of great punishment or rejection for failure. Even if there is no punishment handed out as a result of failure, we are not so stupid that we do not see that the ones who did not succeed are ignored.
This is why we find it so hard to understand our fears, because we never saw anything that could create this fear. It is because the mind automatically at all times is seeing both sides of every event.
We can say that the mind is capable of seeing both sides of the coin at the same time, but we only live in our conscious mind with which it is impossible to see both sides of a coin at the same time. Thus we do not realize that this is what is happening in our subconscious mind as we grow up, building two views with each event, the positive and the negative.
For every positive event, our mind immediately forms a fear of the opposite. Whether you were the one at the top or the bottom of the class, your mind developed a desire to be at the top and a fear of being at the bottom.
If you find yourself plagued with the fears we are discussing, for some reason which does not matter at this time, your mind developed a great fear of failure such that any moment you feel you are wrong, it will significantly alter your mood.
The real problem is that we do not accept that there is nothing wrong with being wrong. You may know this, but that is not altering the way your mind works at the first hint of any mistake. The cure is a simple but gradual process which is tantamount to fighting fire with fire.
Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb expressed it best when asked how he kept going after failing over 10,000 times to invent the bulb. He replied; “I have never failed. I discovered 10,000 things that do not work.”
When you see all things as learning, what does work and what does not work, what is right and what is not right, that all things are more knowledge you can use in the future, then all things are correct because you have added to your knowledge. Now you know what not to do just as well as what to do.
The reason we do not view our actions in this way is because our ego is delicate. It needs so desperately to be wanted and loved and admired that it equally desperately fears being wrong for even the slightest things.
Ironically, the more we react with our emotional swings towards a negative mood at the slightest mistakes, the more we would be rejected. This is the fire to fight the fire that burns you. Knowing that your fear is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The cure is in this mantra; ‘There is nothing wrong with being wrong.’ Being wrong is learning what does not work as the great inventor Edison deeply understood. That view brought light, very literally, to all our lives.
May you find this freedom and take all actions right or wrong, as learning experiences and shed that light upon all others you meet, saving them from bumbling around in the darkness of their fears.
In Buddhism there is no such concept of sin. Buddha regarded failure in terms of archery, in that you missed the mark, now try again.