8/05/2007

Fear Defined

I was feeling a little creative today so I decided to write this post about fear by using the letters in the word to describe the emotion. While in class the other night, our professor asked everyone in the room to describe what we would do if we were not afraid. The answers were varied and the possibilities were endless. Unfortunately, because of the fear of failure, or success, many of us tend to become stagnant never reaching our full potential.

What is F.E.A.R?

Fantasies
Fear is like an organism that thrives where there is abundance of a certain substance. In the same manner that Candida feeds on the sugar we consume, our fears grow and multiply through the thoughts we create. I used the word fantasies because we often produce an unrealistic mental picture of what we fear most. Our fears rarely stem from objective experiences. In fact, many of us have never actually experienced that which we fear. Think about it. When was the last time you had an entire audience make fun of you the last time you spoke? Yet many fear speaking in front of others for that specific reason. Can you recall the last time you fell from the side of a building? Yet many are afraid of heights. Could it be that our "legitimate" fears are just as inflated as the person on the Maury Povich show who was deathly afraid of balloons?

Everyone else
Take time to think about your fears. Do any of them revolve around what others may think? Some of us are even afraid to express our true thoughts and emotions because we do not want others to become angry. We suppress our genius because we do not want to make others feel inferior. We hinder our voice because we do not want to look stupid in front of others. We constantly go through life giving just enough of ourselves to gain the approval of other people. When we do, we extinguish the thoughts, or actions, that make us who we are.

Actions
When we experience prolonged feelings of fear, we may start to experience anxiety. We begin to worry excessively about everyday life. Our daily activities are affected and our minds are not able to rest. And of course, our actions are impacted. Have you ever looked back and thought about the experiences you missed because of the feelings that held you back? Did you ever replay a conversation in your mind and wished that you had another chance to say what you were thinking? Can you think of how your specific circumstance(s) would change if you begin to operate without fear?

Reasons
We entertain thoughts of fear because we can easily provide reasons to validate the fear. When the possibility of doing something slightly scary presents itself, we quickly begin to rattle off an endless supply of reasons not to act. Those reasons may or may not be valid. Those reasons might even make sense to you. But those reasons should not become the barrier between where you are now and where you should be. We let reasons stop us because they seem rational at the time. We believe that we are protecting ourselves from hurt or pain. But what we are really doing is giving up the opportunity to experience growth and change.


Review your fears objectively. Ask yourself if your fears stem from valid concerns or are they bred from invalid reasons. What would you do if you were not afraid?

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