FEAR is the oldest and strongest human emotion. Fear triggers the “fight or flight” response within all living beings. Heart rates increase and blood pressure surges, preparing the large muscles for quick action. Fear is a conditioned response to a past painful experience. A byproduct of our primitive history, today our fast paced lives trigger fear-based responses often without conscious involvement. This learned fear can be triggered by smells, sounds, tastes, touch and sight. All can trigger memories of past trauma.

Fear comes in many forms: worry, uneasiness, anxiety, nervousness, tension, dread and eventually phobias. Most often these feelings are triggered by thoughts of what might happen: fear of loss, fear of failure, fear of hurt, fear of rejection and so on.

Surprisingly once we have obtained a degree of success, the fear of losing it surfaces. Fear causes us to vainly and enviously compare, greedily take, gluttonously collect, and wrathfully control, all in pursuit of security and satisfaction. To lust for more is perceived as being better. In this paradigm, taking is immediate and satisfying, while sharing is absurd. “What’s In It For Me” (WIIFM) is the driving force. Unmanaged pride and vanity feed on success and, left unregulated, can become overbearing, dominating, and even cruel to the point of prohibiting peace. If our success is built on the foundation of such pride, we will never experience lasting peace.

It’s normal and fine to admire the best in possessions, conditions and/or achievements yet it is a fine line between admiration and the drive to possess and own. The sacrifice of time, effort and energy required to develop or possess is often confronted with the drive for immediate gratification. The emotional cost of delayed gratification can be perceived as unattainable thus triggering the counterfeit of deception and dishonesty to self and others.

Envy, greed and gluttony are the logical consequences of comparison and competition. If left unchecked, deceit and deception will be employed to satisfy their demands. The conscious effort to combat the duplicity of conflicting thoughts and behaviors is the process of integrity development. Cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort of hosting the inconsistency between thoughts and actions, intents and behaviors.