The Inner Game Of Fear—Part 2

by Doc Orman, M.D.

the inner game of fear part 2Today is Halloween, and once again, it’s a perfect time to talk about the common human emotion of fear.  The point of this post is to highlight that fear doesn’t come from what’s going on outside of you.  Rather, it always arises from what goes on INSIDE of you. 

“Internal Realities” Are The Source Of All Fears

Let’s consider a very common example.  You’re getting ready for bed one night, and as you go to lie down, you spot a large, menacing-looking spider sitting right in the middle of your pillow.  Let’s assume for a moment that this type of event triggers immediate fear in you.  Why did this specific emotional reaction happen?  Was it because of the external reality of the spider and the possible harm it could do to you? 

While this is a very attractive and reasonable hypothesis, it is not really true. We can prove this by changing up the example just a bit.  Say this time, instead of a real, live spider, we placed a realistic-looking plastic spider on the pillow of our test subject.  Assuming this person would have the same instant fear response when suddenly observing this toy spider on his or her pillow, we can no longer blame the external reality for causing their fear response.

Here, it was the “internal reality” (i.e. this is a real, potentially harmful spider!) that was triggered inside the body of the observer which actually caused their fear response to occur.  This has to be the case, because no real harm is possible from the actual external situation.  So the “potential for harm” was imagined internally, and that’s where the fear response actually came from.

All Emotions Function This Same Way

Even though it is hard for us to appreciate this, all of our emotions arise from triggered “internal realities.”  Yet we’ve been trained to blame our external circumstances for causing most of our emotional upsets to occur.

Once again, this rapid sequence of external (or sometimes internal) triggers, plus the activation of “internal realities,” plus our strongly felt emotional responses all happen so quickly, that we have trouble separating the individual elements apart.  This makes it “feel” like the external realities we encounter directly cause our emotions to occur.  But this is not what really happens.

A Window Of Opportunity

Understanding that this is how our emotions really occur opens a major new window of opportunity for us that most people never take advantage of.

I’ll have more to say about this window of opportunity (for gaining major control over and eventual mastery of your emotions) in my next and final post about fear this week.

More Quotes About Fear

Here are a few more of my favorite quotes about fear, which I found at:

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” ― Frank Herbert, Dune

“He who has overcome his fears will truly be free.” ― Aristotle

“Never worry alone. When anxiety grabs my mind, it is self-perpetuating. Worrisome thoughts reproduce faster than rabbits, so one of the most powerful ways to stop the spiral of worry is simply to disclose my worry to a friend… The simple act of reassurance from another human being [becomes] a tool of the Spirit to cast out fear — because peace and fear are both contagious.” ― John Ortberg Jr., The Me I Want to Be: Becoming God’s Best Version of You

“You can only be afraid of what you think you know.” ― Jiddu Krishnamurti

“Fear sucks. Because you never know when it will attack. Sometimes it sneaks up behind you, giggling like your best girlfriend from seventh grade. Then it whacks you on the back of the head, takes you straight to your knees before you realize what hit you. Other times you can see it coming, just a dot on the horizon, but you’re like a canary in a cage. All you can do is hang in there and hope you don’t get motion sickness and puke all over the newspapers.” ― Jennifer Rardin, Once Bitten, Twice Shy

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To get your own complete download of this entire four-book Stress Relief Secrets REVEALED library, go to and download it right now. Also, when you get these four PDF e-books on your computer, don’t just let them sit there! Don’t promise yourself that you’ll eventually get around to reading them later. That usually doesn’t work, and it’s very likely you will never, ever get around to reading them. And the information they contain is way too valuable and useful for you to miss out on any of it.

Once you do download these four e-books, I’m going to send you an email every day, for the next seven days, to support you in reading them all.

Go to right now and submit your best email address. Then, you’ll get an email asking you to confirm your intentions. When this email arrives (if you don’t see it within 10-15 minutes, check your spam folder), please click on the highlighted link and you’ll go directly to the download page, where all four e-books can be downloaded as one composite .zip file.

Best wishes and happy reading (and learning)!

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