I believe there are four basic fears that keep us from letting go. These fears are behind addictions. These fears are behind obsessions. These fears are behind overconsumption. The biggest of these four fears is the fear of losing everything. There’s a way to get over this fear. Give it away.
In my post, Four Fears Are The Root To All Your Problems, I discuss the following fears:
What’s The Fear Of Losing Everything?
What would you do without a car? What would you do without a TV? What if you had to live in a studio apartment? Would any of those things kill you? No. You’ve been programmed to believe that you need to live at a certain level or you’re not living at all. It’s another lie. You can live a minimalist life and be happy. If you struggle with drinking, gambling, or debt, this fear may be the root cause.
Our culture and media have drilled the fear of losing everything deep into our psyche. We see stories about rich people who lose all their money. We see stories about good people who lose their health. We stories about everyday people who lose their homes.
How Do We React To Losing Everything
- Hoarding: Some accumulate to combat the fear of losing everything.
- Gambling: Some gamble to combat the fear of losing everything.
- Spending: Some overspend to combat the fear of losing everything.
- Drinking: Some drink to combat the fear of losing everything.
The irony here is that your reaction to your fear of losing everything might just cause you to lose everything. There’s another, more healthy way of dealing with the fear of losing everything.
Give It Away, Give It Away, Give It Away
I can hear the protests already. “What? You’re suggesting that I give everything away?” Well, yes. And no. When I say, “Give it away,” I don’t mean everything. I don’t expect you to sell your house and move into a tent. You don’t have to give up your car and ride a bike. Here are some things that you can give away:
- Your excess: I can’t tell you what is excessive in your life. You need to make that decision. If you fear losing many of your belongings, you’re probably holding on to them too tight. That means you’ve probably built up a lot of excess. When you begin to let go of things, something amazing happens: The fear of losing them goes away. I don’t fear my house being robbed because there are very few things that I place large value on. Sure, I have some valuable things, but life and freedom are much more valuable.
- Your ego: Did you ever notice that people who collect big toys often have big egos? They’re quick to brag about their new speedboat or swimming pool. They’re also quick to defend their own overconsumption with their self-inflated stories of hard work and success. If you want to lose your fear of losing everything, you have to check your ego at the door. Give it away.
- Your money: Do you give to charity? If you fear losing your money, you likely hoard it. You save it in bank accounts and trust funds. Maybe you bury it in Mason jars in your back yard. Try the opposite. Give it away. You don’t have to drain your life savings or your retirement funds, but be generous. Give money to charity. Help others. I give money to World Vision and to my local church. As my income increases, I’ll give more money away.
- Your love: Charity work should include more than just giving money. Get involved. Help others. Give love. Give it away freely. Love your family. Love your friends. Love your neighbors. Love strangers. The more you love, the more love you get back. When you love and are loved in return, all the money and stuff becomes less significant.
If you struggle with the fear of losing everything, you can overcome your fear by giving some things away. The less you have, the less you’ll fear losing. The less you have, the more willing you’ll be to help others.
Let go of the excess. Let go of your pride. Let go of your love for money, and live for love itself.