FOFO: The Fear Of Feeling Out
Back in the times of our tribal ancestors, if you were rejected by the tribe it would mean you were totally alone in the world. Something as trivial as not being able to dance could end in this rejection. If you were born a lighter or darker skin color than everyone else, such as an albino, or if you were much smaller or weaker than other members of the tribe you would most likely be excluded, and off on your own you would have to go.
Unless you were a real Renegade and managed to create your own competing tribe elsewhere, you would be outcasted, fail to pass on your genes, and would inevitably die a fast and painful death. Humans are not top of the food chain. The fear of this ever happening is perhaps the greatest fear of all and it still drives a lot of human behaviour to this day.
It seems we have moved on a lot since those tribal ancestral times, but is that really true? The Fear Of Feeling Out or excluded is still a driving factor in a lot of human behaviour. The human need for belonging, connection, and love are perhaps the greatest human needs of all, and it is hardwired deep into the bio-survival circuit of the human reptilian brain.
Think back on your own life at how many things you have done, decisions you have made, which events you did or did not attend, books you did or did not read, clothes you wore or would never dream of wearing simply to fit into the culture you felt most attracted to. Marketing and advertising is all designed to create cultures within cultures, and to lose the deep seated fear of feeling out, to get you to the buy stuff that makes you feel more “in”.
Depression and anxiety is a serious epidemic around the world. A big reason for it is this growing movement towards becoming tribal cultures again. You may be at risk of depression if you feel you have been excluded by your “tribe” because for example you do not earn as much money as them and you can’t afford to go to the same places. Perhaps you do not feel connected to your workmates, peers, friends, or even family. Perhaps you made some big life changes, but they don’t understand so they think you’re weird. Until you discover a new “tribe” that makes you feel more “in”, you may suffer from depression or anxiety, especially if it is your own family who are beginning to exclude you.
The good news is that you can actually respond better to change and become more adaptive by controlling this primal fear response. This can help you prevent the fear from manifesting into something much worse like chronic disease and depression. Instead of overreacting and letting the fear take over your life, you can learn to “charm the snake”, get back into your flow, and find or create a new tribe that lives by your values.
It is also this irrational fear that makes you consume things you do not really want, or conform against your own will just to fit in, or never be able to speak in public or freeze at the sight of a person you admire. This is not really you – it’s the reptilian brain, and by charming the snake and making it your friend, it can help you significantly lead a more happier and fulfilled life.
It is by learning simple breathing exercises that you can become cool and calm when bombarded with negative comments, insults, or rejection. You can become a liberated superhuman!
How To Control FOFO
Fear and hardcore survival instincts are hardwired within the first few interactions of your life and they are the hardest of all to shift. Higher yoga rituals are designed to reprogram these. Conscious breathing is the first reprogramming tool of the yogis. The reprogramming power is especially enhanced if you turn the practice of kumbhaka into an active meditative process using visualization and incantations. This is an extremely effective way to charm the aforementioned snake, as your reptilian brain does not respond to words and logic – it prefers images and symbols.
You may be familiar with the sensations and side effects of fear: sweating, blushing, inability to think straight, freezing up, or even making a crazy instinctive reaction that ends in embarrassment, such as saying the wrong thing or getting into an unnecessary fight.
Strong emotions such as fear shuts down your cerebral functions as your limbic reptilian brain takes control. Instead of directing blood flow to activities like thinking or contemplating, your brain is aimed solely towards your survival under any cost.
Fear leads to physiological changes that prepare you to be more efficient in a dangerous system. Your brain becomes hyper alert, your pupils dilate, your breath capacity increases, breathing gets faster. Your heart rate increases and so does your blood pressure. Blood flow to your muscles increases, too, while blood flow to organs that deal with digestion decreases or even stops completely because they are not as important when you need to escape danger.
The ‘Off Switch’ For Stress
The human species has not evolved to adapt to the current societal pressures. In our ancestral past this fear response would be a valuable protection mechanism in the threat of danger from wild animals or invading tribes. However in today’s time, instead of wild beasts or warriors attacking us, it is our boss at work, deadlines, taxes and bills to pay. These emotional stressors creates the same physiological response, and unlike animals who have an off switch for stress, humans do not. Many of us wallow in an ocean of stress hormones, and unless we do something about it, the stress will inevitably lead to disease or even kill us.
Often poor digestion is the result of less blood flow to the digestive organs due to the flight or fight response being switched on for too long. Poor digestion is a major cause of chronic disease, low energy, and poor performance.
Unless you learn to control the stress response it can wreak havoc over your health and life!
The good news is that breathing rhythmically and practicing kumbhaka are two tools that help us to consciously turn off stress and charm the snake. Rhythmic breathwork followed by kumbhaka is also the magical process for creating the Soma within.
This is an application of the 21-Day protocol