July 23

Zero Tolerance of Fear

July 23, 2014

Parenting

Fear Ruins Everything

Fear ruins everything. It makes happiness impossible and distorts our minds to the point that we can’t think sensibly and solve problems most effectively. Fear is death. Fear WILL destroy us unless we vigorously and consistently root it out. The following conversation will illustrate how it looks in real life to root fear out of your lives and home. 

I spoke with Becca, was going through a divorce and custody proceedings for her two children, Elisa and Max, ages ten and twelve. She was full of fear, as were the kids.

After listening to her talk about a bucket of details, I finally interrupted. “What’s hurting you and your children most is the stress in your home. Do you want to do something about that?”

“Sure,” she said.

“Are you willing to do anything to find happiness—the real thing—for you and your children?”

“I think so.”

“Not good enough. Yes or no.”

“Yes.”

“Fear is a poison. It’s literally destroying you and your family. If I served you a meal, exactly how much cyanide—a deadly poison—would you tolerate my putting in your food?”

“None.”

“So, I repeat, fear is a poison. How much of that deadly poison are you willing to tolerate in your home?”

“None.”

“Brilliant. It’s actually easier to set a standard of ZERO fear than to constantly be figuring out how much of it you’ll allow. Zero tolerance is the only way to go.”

How Zero Tolerance Works

I then explained to her how this works:

  1. NO fear. Obviously, that is the IDEAL. I am not saying that simply by pronouncement fear will be banished, but I am saying that once you establish a standard of zero fear, you’ll become much more aware of any fear that pops up. With a standard of zero, any fear is more obvious.
  2. No indirect expression of fear. Rarely do people honestly say, “I am afraid.” Instead they simply RESPOND to the pain of their fear, using lying, anger, acting like victims, and withdrawal. All these responses are indirect expressions of fear. They do NOT address the fear itself. They only express the fear in ways that are destructive and confusing.

Fear is death. Fear WILL destroy us unless we vigorously and consistently root it out. So how would it look like in real life to implement these two guidelines?

1.Get loved.

  • If you feel the least bit anxious—which includes irritated, disappointed, angry, frustrated—you ARE expressing underlying fear. Immediately STOP what you’re doing. If you’re engaged in an activity, stop. If you’re in a conversation, excuse yourself for as long as it takes to eliminate the fear.
  • Find some love. The only reason you’re afraid is a lack of love, so finding love is a rather obvious solution. You can find a list of ways to find love here.
  • Pray or meditate. Connect with an infinite source of love.

ONLY when you feel unafraid will you continue the conversation or activity.

2. TALK about your expressions of fear. Remember that all disappointment, irritation, frustration, and withdrawal are simply demonstrations of fear, so talk to someone about those feelings. Talk to whom? Oh, it depends on a lot of things: how empty you are, who is available to you, who you’re feeling frustrated with, and more.

Allow me to illustrate one example of talking about expressions of fear on the way to achieving the goal of no fear at all. I talked to Becca and her children about no fear, and everyone was excited at the prospect of having a safe, supportive home. Within minutes of Becca’s returning home, she sent me a photo of a piece of paper her ten-year-old daughter, Elisa, had taped to her bedroom door. It read:

NO FEAR HOUSEHOLD

Grandpa loves me (Elisa calls me Grandpa)

Mom loves me

God loves me

So there is nothing to be afraid of.

Everything is going to be okay no matter what.

Can you imagine how powerful this ten-year-old feels to be able to carry love around with her everywhere she goes? To have a loving and safe home? To know that with love, everything is “going to be okay no matter what”? We can all achieve this kind of genuine power.

Real Life Example of Implementing "No Fear"

It’s no easy thing to implement principles that are entirely different from those we have believed to this point, even if they are life saving and simple. Shortly after talking to me about a “no fear home,” Becca called to tell me about an interaction she’d had with her children.

As Becca passed by the living room, she heard Max and Elisa arguing. They were obviously angry, exchanging verbal blows. Apparently Elisa had gone into Max’s room without permission and “borrowed” a video game. Becca could simply have said, “Stop arguing,” as so many parents do. This approach might have succeeded in stopping the argument, but then the message her kids would have heard would have been, “You are unacceptable to me when you’re angry,” and then the fear in the household would actually have increased. Becca would have made the situation worse, which most parents do.

But Becca remembered our conversation, so she addressed the FEAR, instead of just talking about or stopping the expression of the fear.

“You two are angry. Do you realize that?”

There was mumbling and evident discomfort, but eventually Max said, “Yeah, I’m angry. Because she—”

“No,” Becca said, “we’ve talked about that. I’m sure Elisa was less than kind, but SHE is NOT the cause of your anger. If you’re angry, you’re afraid of something.”

“I’m not afraid,” Max said with as much masculine bravado as he could muster at age twelve.

Becca chuckled. “So this will be a great lesson. You two will go to separate rooms—wherever you want—and you’ll write down what you’re afraid of. Anger IS caused by fear, so now it’s up to you to figure out your fears. We’ll all gather back here in the living room in fifteen minutes.”

Fifteen minutes later they gathered, and Becca asked Max what he was afraid of.

“I’m afraid that Elisa is always going to come in my room and do whatever she wants.”

“And if she behaves like that, what are you hearing her say?”

“That she doesn’t care about me.”

“Yes!” Becca said. “It always comes down to that. When she comes into your room without asking, she’s showing you no respect and isn’t caring about you. You don’t like that. But what you really want is just to be loved, right? And who loves you?”

“You do.”

“Yes, I do—a lot—and no matter what Elisa does, I still love you. So you don’t really have anything to be afraid of, do you?”

“I guess not.”

Becca turned to Elisa and said, “What are you afraid of?”

“I don’t know.”

“Why did you go into Max’s room without asking him?”

“I was afraid he’d say No if I asked him.”

“And if he said No, you thought you wouldn’t be happy, right?”

“Yeah.”

“Okay, so what would happen if you had no video game from Max’s room. Would you still have my love for you?”

“Yeah.”

“Does it make you happy when I love you?”

“Yep.”

“So even if you don’t have the video game, you’d still be happy, because I still love you. Yes?”

“Yes.”

“So both of you really have nothing to be afraid of. No more fear. Now, while you’re not afraid, let’s solve the problem you were arguing about. Elisa, would you be willing to never, ever go into Max’s room without permission?”

“Yes.”

“And Max, if Elisa asks you to use one of your games while you’re not using it, would you be willing to share it?”

“Sure.”

“So we’ve solved the problem, and we did it only BECAUSE you two weren’t afraid. I like this ‘no fear household’ thing? How about you?”

Both children responded that they did.

Stick with This and Experience Miracles

Fear ruins everything. It makes happiness impossible and distorts our minds to the point that we can’t think sensibly and solve problems most effectively. No fear. Try it. Try making a commitment to no fear in your life and in your family. If you do experience fear, talk about it to people who can love and teach you, and your fears will vanish.  If you stick with this—no matter what the obstacles—you’ll experience the miracles that flow from that decision.

Want to learn more?

Eliminate fear and conflict with your children.

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