A better life 16: Fear
25. November 2018
A better life 18: Wishing
8. January 2019

A better life 17: Our biggest fear

What are you the most afraid of ?

In my last post about “Living consciously”, I wrote about fear in general. However, in this post I would like to take this one step further and familiarize you with our biggest fear. But: What fear do I mean? Many people think, that our biggest one is the fear of death. That actually makes sense. After all, death ends our lives and nobody knows what comes next. But, if you take a closer look at this situation, are we afraid of being dead, or are we afraid of something else? In my opinion, the fear of death makes us more concerned about leaving our fellow human beings behind. Why I think this way – you will learn in the next lines.

Why does advertising work?

What does this headline has to do with fear? Everything! Advertising is everywhere and (in my opinion) its root is based on fear. The adverts suggest, that we need the advertised product – without white teeth, no one wants to kiss me; the sweet drink supports a fun life; without insurance I might ruin my future; and so on. But: what kind of emotions do they push to awake this feeling? In my mind, this works only because of the fear of the opinion of others. After all, if I do not have white teeth (their natural state is a bit yellow!), other people do not find me attractive. If I walk around with an old cell phone, the others might think I have little money. If I do not watch the TV program, I won´t have anything to talk about with the others, and so on.

In my opinion, advertising plays with a subconscious fear, that we have little idea it exists at all. As we are increasingly bombarded with advertising, this effect is strongly increasing and some people almost “burn out”. Here, the thought of making a mistake may be omnipresent and is reinforced by the fear of the negative opinion of others, be it colleagues or acquaintances.

Where does this thinking come from?

When and how did we develop this thinking and was life different 20-30-50 years ago? Depression was a rare disease, burnout was not invented, and today known mental illnesses were far less common. One thing stands out: we were less connected at that time. There was no Internet, and we were less bombarded with advertising. Our lives were less digital, and we did not have to compete with the beautiful models of magazines and websites. Access to pornography was far more difficult and nobody told us, that we have to feign a perfect life only to be liked. Meaning: We craze ourselves to please people who do not care about us.

What is there to do?

To free oneself from this thinking, the individual has a few possibilities. For example: to become aware of the subconscious tricks of his fellow human beings and advertisers and to stop reacting to them. Finally, a beverage company can try to fool me as often as they please – telling me, that I feel much better with the orange drink, have more fun and friends  and am more liked when I drink the sweet yellow broth – but only, if I choose to let those thoughts impress me and my brain – and I decide this wholeheartedly on my own.

In addition, I think, that the information about the fear of the opinion of others can help in overcoming it. Of course this does not work overnight, but a little bit every day – personal development at its best!


C-L Ludwig

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