Fear Really Is a Choice

By Greg Baer M.D.

July 22, 2015

Allow me to share an email I received, along with my responses, indicated by **.

When I get angry, it has really helped me to remember the 5 truths.

**Good for you. Most people don't remember the 5 truths. Why? Because they LOVE to defend their anger. They're very attached to it, and don’t WANT anything that would require they let it go.

When recently interacting with someone I've always been afraid of, it dawned on me that my fear was actually really selfish too, just like my anger. As soon as I’m afraid, I’m just thinking of me-me-me and there's no way I could be loving her or even hear her.

**YES. Fear is always about ME—my pain, my potential pain, what I won’t get, what you might do to ME.

I've spent so much of my life in fear that it has seemed a part of me—like a reaction and not a choice I'm making.

**Without love and instruction, fear IS a reaction. It’s a reflex, utterly involuntary. Like a knee jerk. THAT might be the central problem of the world. We really believe other people and things make us afraid. But that CAN’T be true. Why? Two reasons:

  1. In an obvious hurtful situation—concentration camps, hurricanes, whatever—there are always the fearful people (99% or more) but also the people who remain calm and even loving. So fear HAS to be a choice. How? We’ll talk about that.
  2. When people are loved enough, and taught, they lose their fear—most of it all the time, and all of it some of the time. It’s a miracle to witness, and I’ve many such miracles in the lives of real people.

Thinking of fear as an unloving choice has kind of shifted my perspective of it. I’m beginning to believe that I can choose fear or not. Like maybe in choosing to be loving I can choose not to be in selfish fear. It feels like a radical shift in my thinking.

**Yes, it is. Do we really want to be selfish all our lives? Fear looks so helpless and reasonable, but it really is selfish. While we're afraid, we're not thinking about the welfare of others at all. And we’re not helpless in our fear. We can learn to choose differently.

Before I had thought I needed to feel loved in order to be fearless, like the fear would just evaporate. And YES, a lot of it has (fear and shame around mistakes especially). But I am feeling loved a lot now, and it seems that sometimes my fear might be self-indulgent and I'm choosing to be a selfish victim. And maybe I can make a conscious choice to choose to be loving over fearful.

**The way to happiness is almost always a two-fold approach.

  1. Intellectual. We must change our PERSPECTIVE. If we're not happy, we're ALWAYS seeing SOMETHING wrong. Examples of seeing things wrong:

Anger is natural and therefore all right.

Fear is normal and therefore acceptable.

Other people can hurt me.

Other people can make me mad.

I'm afraid because of the selfishness of others.

These are all lies, and until we change these beliefs, we'll never be happy.

  1. FEELING. Intellectual realization alone rarely makes us happy. We simply can't let go of old beliefs until we FEEL loved. We tend to make decisions based on our feelings, not based on the gathering of information. We want to believe we're rational, but usually that is not true.

**The combination of intellect and feeling loved is what makes happiness possible. And they feed each other.

  1. Changing THOUGHTS changes feelings. If I SEE that something not a threat, I FEEL less afraid.
  2. Changing FEELINGS changes thoughts. If I FEEL loved, I have 20 million dollars, and suddenly the potential threat of two dollars LOOKS (thought) much less problematic.

**We really can learn principles and experience feelings that will help us make choices that are not ruled by fear.

Real Love book

Replace your fear & confusion with peace and happiness.


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About the author 

Greg Baer, M.D.

I am the founder of The Real Love® Company, Inc, a non-profit organization. Following the sale of my successful ophthalmology practice I have dedicated the past 25 years to teaching people a remarkable process that replaces all of life's "crazy" with peace, confidence and meaning in various aspects of their personal lives, including parenting, marriages, the workplace and more.

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