Inspiration for Confronting Your Fears

Now would have been a perfect time to create another fitspiration picture, but I decided to create an inspiration picture instead. 🙂


Lately, I’ve been writing about my attempts to control my stress and unpleasant emotions by eating. The crux of my last post was that eating is a particularly useless way of controlling your emotions, simply because it doesn’t work.


If you want to gain complete liberation from your fears, you’ll have to confront the monster you fear the most. There is no exception to the rule. ~Dr David Burns.

My picture was inspired by a story I read in Dr David Burns’ book. The story has stuck in my mind for a long time because it’s such a perfect portrayal of what you need to do to if you want to get rid of your emotional eating:

You need to face your fears (emotions) and resolve your unresolved issues. Nothing else will work.

The story is from the Tibetan Book for the Dead and it goes like this:

According to the story, after you die you wake up in a dark place. A monster (representing the worst fears you had when you were alive) will suddenly appear from the darkness, and you will face two choices: you can either flee or surrender to the monster.

If you decide to flee, you will get away – barely – but you’ll be cast into darkness again. From the darkness, a second monster – almost as terrifying as the first – will appear. You will again face the choice of either surrendering or running away from the monster.

You can guess how the story continues. Every time you flee the monster, you will return to square one and another monster – slightly less scary than the last –  will pop up.

According to the Tibetan Book for the Dead, the cycle repeats as many times as there are days in the month you were born. If you run away form all monsters (in my case there would be 31 because I was born in May) – you will be reborn as something very lowly, like a worm. If you surrender to a monster earlier in the cycle, you will reincarnate at a higher level.

What would have happened if you had surrendered to the first and the most scariest monster?

Two things would happen. You’d discover the monster wasn’t real: it was just an illusion and you never had anything to fear in the first place. Secondly, you would be freed from the life-death cycle and be transported to a higher plane of existence like Nirvana.

The moral of the story is that you can try avoid your fears (emotions), but if you do, they’ll just pop up again sooner or later.


I hope you enjoyed the story and the inspiration picture. 🙂


  1. Marion says:

    Hi Satu! I do agree that a person has to face their “monsters” to be happy and healthy. Once, I read an article that said we should make a list of all of defining moments, both good and bad, that changed our life. Then we should remember how we were before and after that defining moment. I guess this formula helped me find my monsters. And it also help me figure out which were the big monsters by comparing the “befores” and “afters.” Once you know what the monsters are, then you can figure out how to deal with them.

    🙂 Marion

    • Satu says:

      I actually had one such defining moment years ago. I suffered from moderate public speaking anxiety but for some reason I decided to get rid of it no matter what. And I did, by giving public speeches every time I could.

      I have no more public speaking anxiety. 🙂

  2. Second post about facing your fears that I’ve read today. Ack! I know you’re right, but I’m way too worn down at the moment to do so. I intended for this year to be a year of doing that, but, then I got sick and my dog is sick and my mom’s dog had to be put down and money problems and blah, blah, blah…. So I guess I just need to recharge for a while. Reading two posts in one day about it will help to keep it in my mind, though, for when I get myself back up and going!

    • Satu says:

      Being overwhelmed is not a good time to do anything too demanding… Sometimes only thing you do is to hang out till the worst is over. I hope it gets easier for you ASAP.

  3. Oh wow Satu, I really love that story! What an amazing tale.

    I have problems working out what my ‘fears’ are. (I think. I know the obvious ones, but suspect there are others or underlying ones I am not sure of.)

    What about you? Are you able to identify your fears?


    • Satu says:

      I think I mostly know my fears. What keeps them alive is the fact that I stubbornly refuse to face them!

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