Fear thoughts is that condition of the mind in which everything is seen through blue glasses — in which everything seems to bring a sense of the futility of endeavor — the “I Can’t” principle of mentality, as contrasted with the “I Can and I Will” mental attitude. It is the noxious weed in the mental garden, which tends to kill the valuable plants to be found therein. It is the fly in the ointment — the spider in the cup of the Wine of Life.
So far as we know the first person to use the word “Fear-Thought” — which has now passed into common use — was Horace Fletcher, the well-known writer, who coined it to supplant the use of the word “Worry” in a certain sense. He had pointed out that Anger and Worry were the two great hindrances to a well- balanced, advanced and progressive mentality, but many misunderstood him and urged that to abolish Worry meant to cease taking any consideration of the morrow — a lack of common prudence and forethought.
And so Fletcher coined the word “Fear-Thought” to express a phase of his idea of “Forethought without Worry,” and he entitled his second book on the subject, “Happiness, as found in Forethought minus Fear-Thought,” a very happy expression of a very happy idea.
Fletcher also was the first to advance the idea that Fear was not a thing-in-itself, but merely an expression of Fear- Thought — a manifestation of the state of mind known as Fear-Thought. He and others who have written on the subject, have taught that Fear might be abolished by the practice of abolishing Fear-Thought from the mind — by driving it out of the mental chamber — and the best teachers have taught that the best way to drive out Fear (or any other undesirable mental state) was by cultivating the thought of the opposite quality of mind by compelling the mind to dwell upon the mental picture of the desirable quality, and by the appropriate auto-suggestions.
The illustration has often been stated that the way to drive darkness from a room is not to shovel it out, but to throw open the shutters and let the sunlight stream in, and that is the best way to neutralize Fear- Thought.
The mental process has aptly been spoken of as “vibrations,” a figure that has a full warrant in modern science. Then, by raising the vibration to the Positive pitch, the negative vibrations may be counteracted. By cultivating the qualities recommended in the other lessons of this book, Fear-Thought may be neutralized. The poison of Fear- Thought is insidious and subtle, but it slowly creeps through the veins until it paralyzes all useful efforts and action, until the heart and brain are affected and find it difficult to throw it off. Fear-Thought is at the bottom of the majority of failures and “going down” in life.
As long as a man keeps his nerve and confidence in himself, he is able to rise to his feet after each stumble, and face the enemy resolutely — but let him feel the effects of Fear-Thought to such an extent that he cannot throw it off and he will fail to rise and will perish miserable. “There is nothing to fear except Fear,” has well been said.
We have spoken elsewhere about the Law of Attraction, which operates in the direction of attracting to us, that which we Desire. But there is a reverse side to this — it is a poor rule that will not work both ways. Fear will set into motion the Law of Attraction just as well as Desire. Just as Desire draws to one the things he pictures in his mind as the Desired Thing, so will Fear draw to him the thing pictured in his mind as the Thing Feared. “The thing that I feared hath befallen me.” And the reason is very simple, and the apparent contradiction vanishes when we examine the matter.
What is the pattern upon which the Law of Attraction builds under the force of Desire? The Mental Image, of course. And so it is in the case of Fear — the person carries about the Mental Image or haunting picture of the Feared Thing, and the Law of Attraction brings it to him just as it brings the Desired Thing. Did you ever stop to think that Fear was the negative pole of Desire? The same laws work in both cases.
So avoid Fear-Thought as you would the poisonous draught that you know would cause your blood to become black and thick, and your breathing labored and difficult. It is a vile thing, and you should not rest content until you have expelled it from your mental system.
You can get rid of it by Desire and Will, coupled with the holding of the Mental Image of Fearlessness. Drive it up by cultivating its opposite. Change your polarity. Raise your mental vibrations. Someone has said, “There is no Devil but Fear” — then send that Devil back to the place where he properly belongs, for if you entertain him hospitably he will make your heaven a hell in order that he may feel at home. Use the mental Big Stick on him.