One of the most destructive emotions in our lives is the feeling of Fear. It is the most common one next to Love. Both of those emotions even go hand in hand.
What is fear exactly? Why do we fear? Who experiences fear the most? What do we do to overcome the feeling of fear in our lives???
The feeling of fear itself is very versatile. Every person feels fear differently and the reason or cause of fear varies as well. Generally speaking though, fear is an emotion that paralyzes our ability to think positively and find peace in our lives. When you fear something, you are unsure of the outcome and the way it will affect you. It is usually a negative thought associated with the feeling. So What are we afraid of? Why do we feel that unshakable feeling of fear? Is it because we feel we are not in control of the situation or even life on the whole? It is very possible.
We all fear the ‘unknown‘, don’t we? I know I do at times – ok most of the times. There is something mysterious in the unknown that makes us all on edge. Things can always go either way. It’s a 50/50 chance as they say. So in a way, we gamble with our lives every time there is an ‘unknown‘. Let us think about this for a second. What is really ‘KNOWN’?? What in life can we guarantee? What is a sure thing? What can we truly have control of? I end up with more questions than answers – and so that is how fear begins to take over our lives – IF WE LET IT.
I try however to find a way to ignore the feeling and substitute it with a more positive one. I attempt to rationalize my thoughts and analyze my feelings and see if my feelings of fear will solve anything or is it just complicating things even more.
Let me give some examples or types of fears that we all experience at some point in our lives. Although there are many forms and types, I will only mention a couple.
Some people fear failure just as some may actually fear success. So they limit themselves from attempting anything out of their comfort zone because of ‘what if it does not work out’ and therefore; may never find out if they are capable or not. The problem here is that failure is a part of life – we do not always get it right from the first time. Life is about trial and error. Taking a chance and seeing where it leads. Yes, some of us are not risk takers and that is totally fine. However there is a difference between being paranoid and being cautious. You can have uncertainty or doubt towards an outcome of a particular event or circumstance, but will you ever know if it will work out or not, unless you try. With that being said, we must use our own discretion as to how far we can go with our risk taking. Some things are very obvious not to be attempted and some may be experimented with. Everyone must discover their comfort level of trial and error.
On the other hand, shutting oneself from any kind of trial is not fair to oneself. Taking the easy way or the most common way may get you somewhere, but may not get you far where you really need to go. The question you need to ask is: ‘What am I going to gain when I try this out?’ However most of us, including myself, ask: ‘What am I going to loose? or What is the worst thing that can happen?’ You see the difference in the feelings associated with every sentence. One gives you hope and positive energy and in a way gives you some courage to act. The other statement is full of fear and uncertainty and a ball of negativity. Why do we always think of the worst thing that can happen instead of believing that GOOD things will happen. In other words why are we looking at the glass half empty? It is human nature I know, but that does not mean it is a healthy way to live. Why not try to make positive statements even when we are in doubt. That’s my own personal perspective anyway. It is up to you what you want to take from it.
Another type of fear that is experienced with most human beings is the fear of getting hurt and so people prevent themselves from living to their full potential and enjoying life with all that it brings. How do we hurt? Simply when we love, when we open ourselves up, when we become vulnerable to others, and especially when we do not expect or anticipate BETRAYAL. I know that one all too well, and here I am standing tall and still saying: “Do not fear love, do not fear life, do not fear to be yourself, do not fear to be loving, caring, and giving, do not fear the hurt that is inevitable to come your way – just be ready when it comes and deal with it”. When you look at it this way, when you understand that you cannot hide or run from disappointments and hurt and pain, you will decide to just BE. You do not have control over anything in life, you can lead the path and you can plan all you want but when fate intervenes – there is nothing you can do about it. So why fear? what will it accomplish? You can fear and hurt will still find its way to you. You can close yourself up and that alone will hurt you. Sometimes you are so afraid of being hurt that with your negative thinking you bring on pain to yourself and so what you feared of – happened anyway – and so you convince yourself that you were right to fear to begin with – meanwhile – it’s the fear of fear that brought on the pain. I know that may not make sense to everyone – I just know how it feels because I lived in fear for so long and even though I was able to overcome a lot of my fears and start my life in a more positive way, I admit I still have fears that follow me. Maybe there will always be a part of me that fears because I allow it. That is the key here. It is up to us to allow fear to take over or we can fight that feeling, be honest with ourselves and think it through. Most of the times we will find that our fears were so unnecessary and we put ourselves through stress for no reason. Maybe we just like it when things are always difficult, we can’t have it easy, can we?
I must share with you one last type of fear because I am too familiar with it. The fear of the “M” word. Yes Ladies and Gentleman, you got it, it is the fear of Marriage or even any kind of committed relationship. Before I start on ranting, let me try to be objective here. Key word being TRY….. From the perspective of the individual that fears commitment or marriage, he/she believes that they are not ready for such a step due to various reasons and nothing and no one will ever change their feelings. And that is true. Only the person can feel ready for commitment, no one can force you to be. Some of the reasons may be because they believe marriage is not for them or that they have conformed a very pessimistic view on the subject as a result of own unpleasant experience or witnessing other failed relationships, including growing up in a broken home. And with that I am not saying that if you do not grow up with your parents under one roof that you will be turned off, however it can in some cases be a factor in the overall decision. There are many other reasons, there is no limit to the causes. And every single one of them is a valid reason. And who are we to question the way someone feels. It is your own choice at the end of the day how you want to live your life.
The one thing I will say about this topic is that when you allow those causes to paralyze your reasoning and emotions, you will not be able to see a good thing that comes your way and walks right out that door. You can hold on to your fears all you want, you can close yourself up and stop trusting and stop giving away your heart. You can keep looking for that perfect person, that perfect relationship, that perfect timing, that perfect life – you will be waiting for a very long time my friend. The day will come and you will need someone to open that heart to you and you will not find it because you may have turned everyone in your life away by now. Am I being harsh? Maybe! I will not feel sorry for those who choose to lock themselves up in a bubble of fears and the what ifs – I refuse to live my life this way.
Finally I conclude my thoughts by saying that fear is a part of our natural human reactions. It is not wrong to feel and experience fear. It is not healthy to live in fear. It is not actually helping you to allow fear to dictate your decisions in life. Fear will come, so what to do with it? Recognize it. Try to understand where is it coming from and why. Analyze the feelings. Analyze the situation. Find solutions instead focusing on the problem. When you take your mind of the actual problem or concern and switch it on fixing the issue or on finding answers, you have just done what you thought you couldn’t do – You have overcome your fear! Is it easy? Absolutely not. Can you do it? Absolutely YES. Will it always work out the way you want it to? I really do not know – neither do you – but there is one way to find out!! Just do it!!
My selected quotes about Fear:
“Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.” ~Marie Curie~
“Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it.” ~Bill Cosby~
“To fear is one thing. To let fear grab you by the tail and swing you around is another.” ~Katherine Paterson~
“He who fears to suffer, suffers from fear.” ~French Proverb~
“I have accepted fear as a part of life – specifically the fear of change…. I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: turn back.” ~Erica Jong~