Fear of Fear

Everyone is afraid of something . . .

We all have our groups of fear. I know that my fears range from valid to simple, and irrational to rational. I know this is a fact. Then again the same can be said for most of us down here on Project Earth. We all feel. We all think. At times, we overthink to the point where simple decisions become difficult. Life can be scary sometimes. I know this and you do too, which is why this is a true story.

As if we didn’t have enough to worry about, we have news reports of something called, “murder hornets” to think about. They are the world’s largest hornets. To me they sound like something out of a horror movie. But unfortunately, no. Murder hornets are very real and could possibly become an invasive species in our country.

There was a loud explosion outside of my house last night. No one knows what it was. Some of the neighbors were talking about this on an online forum. The boom shook the ground so whatever it was, it wasn’t small.
Safe to say this was scary. A family in the neighborhood posted a video from their surveillance camera. Apparently one of the black bears decided to get close to their house. The big bear approached and looked in the front window. Could you imagine sitting on the sofa of your living room and then turning around to see a big bear looking right at you? Safe to say this could give someone a heart attack, right? The bear hung around for a while and then left without issue. Fortunately, there was no damage done to the home, and there was no harm to the bear.

It is safe to say that things like black bears in your front window are valid things to be afraid of. And murder hornets? Are you kidding me?

In Japan, the 'murder hornet' is both a lethal threat and a tasty ...
What the???


But what does it mean to be afraid?
What is fear anyway?
Aside from a basic emotion; fear is an arousal of impending danger. Fear is the concern for pain or something evil. And yes, if you ask anyone I think we would all agree that murder hornets are something to be afraid of.

There are different fears for different people. Some are afraid of bugs. Some are terrified of spiders or snakes. Some are afraid of the dark. Some are less afraid of the dark but more afraid of what’s in it. Some are afraid to be alone. And some are afraid to love or live, or be exposed and shamed. Life can be a scary place sometimes. This is true.

There is nothing wrong with fear, by the way. I have a fear of crowds. I have social anxiety, and yet, I am a public and motivational speaker. Fear is different for me now. Then again, fear is different for all of us. We all relate to fear differently. Though we are all afraid of different things, our anxieties can be similar. We can share similar fears and we can relate to one another, but fear is very personal.

Keep in mind, there is nothing wrong with being afraid of something. Fear can be an excellent motivator. Fear teaches us to avoid danger. This allows us to safely overcome an obstacle. Fear is also the initial stir. This is the emotion that triggers the senses. 

I often talk about the five basic emotions listed below.
I teach about the acronym which helps us to remember them.


F.L.A.P.P.

  • Fear
  • Loneliness
  • Anger
  • Pain 
  • Pleasure

It is accurate that fear tops the list. This is accurate because out of the five basic emotions, four of them are less than desirable. To be honest, aside from pleasure, the other emotions really suck. The only thing we want is pleasure. The rest we can do without and leave behind. Unfortunately, this is who we are. These are the basic emotions, like it or not.

Some of us do well with emotions. Some of us hide them. Some feel emotion and others struggle with them. I have a fear of heights. When I was a child, I had a terrible fear that flies would land on my food if I left the room (not sure where that came from). I have fears of being hurt. I have a fear of not being enough. I struggle with something called “Imposterism” or “Imposter Syndrome.” This is a psychological pattern. This is when someone doubts their accomplishments and has a tremendous fear of being revealed as a fraud. I have fears of abandonment and then of course, I have the almighty fear of rejection, and that I am not liked, accepted, wanted, or good enough. I have a fear of being stripped of all my value and achievements and then left alone to be vulnerable and publicly shamed.

There is a difference between murder hornets and the phantoms of the mind. One of them can literally sting you and the other can be more debilitating than anything else in the world. Fears like this can be even more crippling than the sight of a bear chasing us down and gaining quickly. However, one fear is real and the other is figurative. Then again, one is only fear. The other is actually phobia.

Phobias are debilitating because they are persistent. Phobias are irrational fears based upon something that causes an overflow of anxiety. Phobias keep us back. They stop us from living freely and if I am being honest, my phobias have led me to panic stages that were nearly life ending.

I never liked being afraid. I have fears of loneliness and fears of pain, which then creates the stir of anger. This is how I learned about myself and how to improve. I learned to tie them into each other so that I could map out and understand more about my anger. I wanted to learn more about my fear. This is why fear tops the list, and loneliness is second because no one wants to feel lonely.

There is an order in life that is simply undeniable. Emotions are undeniable as well. This does not mean that feelings are real, false, fact, or fiction. Emotions are innate, which means they are natural. This means fear is natural, because fear is a necessary trait for survival. We are built to have fear, not live in it.

Living things have fear. Animals have fear. Fish have fear. There are predators and prey in all of the species. This is why fear is not only natural, but necessary. We are not made to live in a constant state of fear. Our bodies cannot process this. If an animal senses fear, the animal runs.
If a fish senses danger, it swims away as fast as possible until it reaches a place of safety. Once safe, the fish (or the animal) goes back to doing whatever fish (or animals) do. They go on about their lives without rehashing the past, reconsidering their pride, or evaluating their positions of ego.

On the other hand, people are a very different. We tend to hold those fears. We nurture them to grow like a weed and essentially, this suffocates us with irrational ideas that keep us from reaching our best possible self. 

The question I used to ask myself is, what is fear?
The answer I came to is that fear is part of life. Fear is the distressing concern or the worry of danger. When fear is nurtured, fear can be the most crippling emotion of them all. 

I don’t mind my fears so much. I just decided that I don’t want to be afraid all the time. I pushed myself. I learned to be comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. I learned to challenge my assumptions and put myself “out there” by doing the exact opposite of what my fears told me I’d never be able to do.

Do I struggle with fear sometimes?

Absolutely!

But at least I am not as terrified as I used to be…

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