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The (Only) 5 Fears We All Share

Separation

The fear of abandonment, rejection, loss of connectedness, unwanted, disrespected or devalued. 

The "silent treatment," when imposed by a group, can have a devastating effect on its target.

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The Five Human Fears
The Five Human Fears

Human beings have five fears that are relatively common:

  1. Fear Of Death.
  2. Fear Of Injury or mutilation.
  3. Loss of Freedom and Autonomy.
  4. Fear of separation coming from loss, rejection or abandonment.
  5. Fear of the Ego-death, from shame or humiliation.
New Aspects of Fear During a Crisis

The global pandemic has surfaced a peculiar fear of not being able to communicate with one’s family and friends before our(sudden) death.

The fear of not being able to say goodbye, or to not be able to speak the parting words of love and forgiveness.

Obituary Vs Eulogy
  • An obituary is a formal ‘public resume’ of a life that has now ended. It can include details like the place of birth, location, work and the names of the surviving family members. It is like a LinkedIn profile along with the Facebook profile picture.
  • A eulogy(pronounced You-luh-jee), by contrast, is about sharing memories, stories, quirks and the human element of the deceased. It captures the legacy and impact of the deceased.
Reappraising Conversations
Imagining a conversation as a game you are to score as many points as you can. 
6: Shared feeling/experience (that’s when acquaintances become friends)
5: Confirmation of an emotion’s legitimacy
4: Pursuit of the topic
3: Acknowledgment
2: Implicit recognition (but changing the topic)
1: Perfunctory recognition (autopilot)
0: Denial/contradiction
Don’t Be Self-Centered

It’s key to connecting with people to suspend your ego; to put your own needs, wants and opinions aside. Anxiety does the opposite bringing your feelings and expectations to the forefront.

Focus on the other person. Simply listen to what they have to say and ask them to tell you more. 

Reappraisal

Just because you feel it doesn’t make it real. Feelings come from beliefs. Change the beliefs and feelings will change.

Research and anecdotal evidence show that the simple act of positively reimagining something can be enough to decrease anxiety.

Mindful Communication

Bringing awareness, or mindfulness, to the way we communicate with others has both practical and profound applications.

We can train ourselves to:

  • recognize when the channel of communication has shut down. 
  • remain silent instead of blurting out something we’ll later regret. 
  • notice when we’re over-reacting and take a time-out.
Label How You Feel

Each of us already has this natural communication system that feeds us information all the time. So when we close down and become defensive—for a few minutes, a few days, months or even a lifetime—we’re cutting ourselves off not only from others, but also from our natural ability to communicate. 

Mindful communication trains us to become aware of when we’ve stopped using our innate communication wisdom.

Defensive Reactions Zone

When we react to fear by shutting down the channel of communication, we’ve put up a defensive barrier that divides us from the world.

Signs you’re in the red light zone:

  • Our values shift to me-first.  We tell ourselves that relationships are not that important. 
  • Closed communication patterns are controlling and mistrustful. We see others as frozen objects that have importance only if they meet our needs.
  • We feel alone and emotionally hungry. Then we look to other people to rescue us from our aloneness. 
  • The sense of isolation that our defensive barrier triggers is subconsciously terrifying. If we are indeed isolated individuals, how do we get our supplies? How do we ward off enemies?
  • Suppressing these inner fears makes us even more rigid and out of touch. We tighten our muscles and thoughts; we harden our hearts.