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A Short Essay on Fear, Part Three


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A Short Essay on Fear, Part Three


“Most fears of rejection rest on the desire for approval from other people.  Don’t base your self-esteem on their opinions.” – Harvey Mackay



We talked about the basics of rational and irrational fear.

Now let’s dive into some topics that apply to our daily lives: socialization.

The first thing to understand about socialization is that you will not change others.

On a rare occasion, you will inspire, influence, or impress upon others with a different manner or method of socialization.

But you will not change them.  Before you can move forward with applying principles of fear management to socialization, you must get comfortable with this outcome.  If you are confused by this statement, it will make sense as you read this essay.

Always remember that changing others is a process of control; influencing others is a process of guidance.

Guidance is service.  Control is domination.  You will never dominate every person you come across, no matter how positively they react to your demeanor, words, and behavior. 

Our natural, unintentional version of socialization carries on every day, ad nauseum.  Instead of actively listening to others, we talk over them, around them, and even in a way that suggests we are better than them.  And conversely, they do the same thing back.

By nature, humans are solipsistic.  Our self-centeredness continually exposes itself when we do not choose intention.  Solipsism can affect us on a sliding scale, based on our current brain chemistry, what thoughts and emotions we have engaged in recently, and what the social environment around us is supportive of.

These influences of self and others draw us in and produce the version of us that stands before others.  And that is ultimately the scenario that gets us into trouble.  We are not reflecting on ourselves, our emotions, or our thoughts enough.  We are allowing ourselves to be blindly led by the solipsism that is further influenced by the things most directly surrounding us.

This is a matter of control, not controversy, despite society’s best efforts to describe socialization as the primary conflict among a group.  It is truly the result of a lack of conflict with ourselves.

We must confront elements of our social nature before we truly interact socially.  And through this process, we can begin to set aside irrational fears and thoughts, like portraying our views as better than others or being defensive when others speak about us, or our opinions for that matter, in a negative light.

Beliefs and ‘Our Law’

Humans are both excited and fearful of the world around them.  There are things they find lovely, glorious, and breathtaking.  There are things they find revolting, cruel, and despicable.

How we interpret those things around us is the basis for forming our beliefs, which inform how we carry ourselves ethically. 

We hold these things dearly, with more extraordinary passion than we have for our next travel adventure.

And whether these are informed opinions (i.e., from research, non-fiction/academic reading, subject-oriented class, etc.) or not, it will not matter to us what another thinks because our solipsistic nature tells us we are right.

But, as humans, we are typically not that confident.  Those people who display confidence are one of two categories: those who are well-educated on the topic at hand and those whose solipsistic nature has risen to narcissistic levels – in other words, overly confident to the point of abuse (social disorders is a topic all on its own and will need to be covered as such.)

In most instances, humans manage themselves within an overly ambitious level of self-doubt, irrational fear of being wrong, subjugated by gossip, and ridicule or ostracized by a group.

Keep in mind that humans tend to find salvation through tribalism by nature, so most attempts by humans that revolve around expounding their beliefs are an attempt to see if their version of self will coincide with a given group. 

Gatekeepers are those (usually self-chosen) elected to defend the group from “outsiders.” They are to take narrow views on those who present their beliefs before accepting what is accepted by said tribe.

Now apply that to every group social scenario you’ve been in, whether at work, school, a park, your significant other’s family picnic, sporting events, or even a hospital waiting area. You now understand why people develop irrational fears of self and, more importantly, around acceptance.

No matter what laws a society develops or how “fair” a process is offered to all, people continue to seek out who they deem like-minded to establish their tribe.  Fear permeates all that we do socially because in these scenarios the human mind concludes it has the most to lose and a fraction to gain.

The problem we face individually is that to achieve growth in our fear management, the most significant task of them all is to learn to control the fears we have of social settings.

Taming that irrational fear, among all other concerns, is the one that can create the most amount of progress for us in our daily lives, both short-term and long-term.

A New Social Strategy

Whether we are facing a single person or a group, we can achieve control of irrational fear and stay true to ourselves when we employ the following tactics:

1.       Engage active listening throughout your interaction

2.       Be intentional with the words you speak; don’t fill in blanks or thoughts.

3.       Disengage from gossip and rumormongering.

4.       Do not take ownership of what others say about you, or your beliefs


When we use active listening as our primary approach to social interaction, we say more minor but ultimately mean more.  Active listening requires that we paraphrase what is being told to us and use empathy to acknowledge the feelings another has in the interaction, either in that moment or in their past.

When active listening is our priority, we sacrifice nothing of ourselves and allow others to feel comforted in that someone is hearing them out.  No longer do conversations become a grapple of some sense of control.

By being intentional in our choice of words, we leave nothing to interpretation; and thus, nothing that can be rumored about us or gossiped about.  The only way a person could do this after a conversation with us would be to make up what happened utterly; that will expose itself to others in due time.  This is nothing we need to be worried about.

Removing gossip and rumormongering from our tactics is crucial.  This builds trust and respect with others over the long term and presents us with a confidant who is not shakable.  Remember that when others, especially in a group, try to instigate us into rumormongering, it is usually to test us, to see what kind of person we are.  Gossipers are considered weak-minded; even if it’s not said aloud, your allies will think that about you, and likely won’t be your allies when things get tough.

Additionally, divorcing ourselves of the need to own what people say about us, whether in front of us or behind our back, improves our mental health and allows us to think clearly, and without hesitation as we navigate social scenarios.

When people talk about others in such ways, it is a reflection of themselves, so it is useless to take ownership of it because you are proffering yourself to that person to own part of you, specifically your psyche.  It’s not theirs to have. 

By employing these tactics as a full-blown strategy, we can reduce our negative impressions of social interaction, even those interactions we’d rather not have regardless.  And by establishing ourselves confidently and altogether different in social interaction, we will prevail as the strong-willed person that cannot be broken, which in turn will shed our irrational fears in social settings.


In social settings, it is essential to recognize our desire for control. Once again, we control nothing; we control no one.  We only control ourselves.

To push past our fear, we must work hard on ourselves and eliminate the need for others’ acceptance.  Generally, their approval is not necessary.  And it is fruitless to even when given.  Learning who we are before we approach others is the best method of solving much of the fear we anticipate socially.

And by taking on that responsibility, we will re-focus our efforts on the most important tasks to complete, ourselves.

I think that there's a fine line between being able to shut out the thoughts and opinions of others whether they are negative/positive and being truly soliplistic. To be truly soliplistic would to isolate ourselves from others when the reality is that social contact with others is a main driver for most humans
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