Overcoming Anxiety, Fear, and Lack of Confidence
How can one live life with full confidence and fearlessness?
Via the Internet
Our reply: What you ask has a simple answer, but implementing it may not be easy. Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita (18.66) that if we just surrender to Him we need not have any fear, because He will protect us from the greatest danger. The greatest danger is taking birth again in the material world and especially loosing the human form of life, which will cause us, the spirit soul, to glide down to a lower birth. That danger can be avoided simply by worshiping Krishna.
But worshiping Krishna is not always easy. We have countless material desires, and as long as we depend on something material to make us happy, we’ll experience fear, anxiety, and lack of confidence.
Anxiety will naturally come because we have no real control over anything. We try our best to make things turn out the way we want, but still bad things happen. Our intention may be good, but sometimes we make mistakes and hurt others. We have plans, but the material energy forces us to drop them. Such is life in the material world.
We lack confidence because we think we have to depend on our limited strength, intelligence, money, and so on to make things work the way we want them to. But generally they don’t work the way we want, and no matter how strong or wise or rich we are, we can’t change the course of certain events.
We fear because we don’t know the future. We are attached to certain outcomes, and we fear they won’t be achieved. Although we want to live forever, we won’t, and we don’t know when or how our time will come, so we fear death. We don’t know what will become of us when our body dies, yet we sense there is something more after this life, and so we fear the unknown.
If we want to rid ourselves of fear, anxiety, and lack of confidence, we need to develop faith in Krishna and love for Krishna. We need to become aware of our nature as spiritual beings with an eternal spiritual relationship with the Supreme Person, Lord Krishna. We need to accept that He is in control and that only by accepting His will can we be sure that what is meant to be will turn out for our ultimate good. If we are comfortable with that, then we have no fear or anxiety. We do our best, and Krishna does the rest. And we accept whatever He wants. If we trust Him to take care, then we will be peaceful and happy. And we will be inspired to work hard to please Him, and that in turn will make Him happy. Then He will reciprocate with us and bring us back to Him. He will not necessarily make our material life “perfect” (material perfection is not possible), but He will guide us toward spiritual perfection.
It is impossible to be comfortable here in the material world, and if we continue to try to be, we will not do the work necessary to go back to the spiritual world, Goloka Vrindavana. If we want the highest happiness – eternal happiness – we need to look outside this material sphere for our pleasure. Material pleasure is always temporary and heavily sprinkled with misery.
Again, the key to becoming free from anxiety, fear, and lack of confidence is to develop faith and confidence in Krishna. That means we need to get to know Him by performing devotional service to Him, guided by the instructions He gives in the Bhagavad-gita and through His great devotees. By chanting His name and learning about Him, we can get to know Him – and to know Him is to love Him. We have to reestablish our relationship with Him by being willing to work diligently to attain that goal.
Looking for Clarity
Why am I so confused all the time?
Via the Internet
Our reply: Most people are confused but pretend that they know everything and that everything is just fine. All living beings who do not understand their spiritual nature are confused. They misunderstand themselves to be their body and struggle hard to find the pleasure they seek within the sphere of the material world. The fact that they are still regularly frustrated and not really happy is confusing to them. It seems to them that since they are hankering for material objects or relationships, when these come they should bring peace of mind – but they don’t. That is certainly confusing. Why do I continue to feel empty, lonely, frustrated, and disturbed even though I am following the crowd and doing all the things I’m supposed to do? And what’s more, everyone looks so happy (especially on Facebook). Why am I not happy?
In reality, though, people present themselves as they want others to think they are, not as they really are. And so all the selfies with big smiles are merely a cover for the confusion and dissatisfaction people generally feel. The shops are full of people running here and there to get more things. They’re accumulating more gadgets, faster internet, better phones and computers, slicker cars and houses, and yet no one is satisfied. The divorce rate continues to rise, violence and hate seem more prevalent than ever, children are being neglected, bullied by other children, and loosing interest in becoming productive members of society, mother earth is being exploited – these are all signs of a confused, misdirected, and unhappy world.
We are spiritual beings. You are a spiritual being, and until you begin to feed your soul – to nurture who you really are – you will remain confused and frustrated. No material thing can satisfy the spirit soul. Fortunately, feeding the soul is easy in this age, and it’s free. All you have to do is chant Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, study the Bhagavad-gita, and try to associate with people aware of their spiritual nature. As devotees of Krishna, we encourage you to learn more about your true identity and needs and to act in wiser ways. Krishna’s devotees can provide encouragement and guidance to help you cut though your confusion and come to understand the right course of action.
Sri Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita (4.34) that one must find a guru, inquire from him submissively, and render service to him. The guru will give you real knowledge. Search for such a guru, and you will find the answers to life’s questions. Be patient but determined, and your confusion will come to an end.