Fear is, for most people, something that is to be avoided at all costs.But why do we have the uncontrollable urge to run away from things that we fear? Most likely, it has something to do with our biology that we hold on to from back in the days where being afraid was the thing that kept us on edge, that kept us alive. Fear was being prepared for the lion bearing down on you in the tall grass,and avoiding the tall grass if possible.
In today’s world most of our base needs are provided for within reason.We have the luxury of being able to expend our energies on things that do not relate to finding food, making shelter, or avoiding harm. However, I think that our hard-wiring for fear prevents us from taking risks that would benefit us. We avoid things like speaking to a cute stranger we met on the bus out of fear that they could be a closet psychopath, or that they might hurt us emotionally by snubbing our advances. We still have the avoidance of fear, but for most situations, for the majority of us, it is an unjustified fear.
So what can we do about it? By recognizing that we may have fears that are not equal to the perceived threat we can make a choice to ignore the fear and act anyways. With time we might learn to distinguish better between irrational fear and justified fear. When we learn to take on the fear we are feeling and turn it into something positive we enable ourselves to become better, to do more, to grow. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in his first inauguration address, summed things up perfectly when he said:
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning,unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
Has there ever been a time when fear has kept you from acting? Was the fear a rational or an irrational fear? Did you later regret not doing something?