027 On the other side of fear

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” – Franklin D. Roosevelt.

What is it you fear?
Ask yourself that question right now. I’ll wait. Ask yourself, “What is it that I fear the most?”. Try making a mental list of the 3-4 things that you are afraid of the most.
Done? Okay.
Now ask yourself why- you fear the things listed,
“Why do I fear what I fear?”
Well , what’s your answer? I suspect that it’ll fall somewhere on the very common lines, which is “Because it’s scary”. Now, that’s kind of obvious, isn’t it? We fear a thing because it’s scary. Death is a common fear since it’s scary. You don’t know how it feels to die, it’s unknown, it’s scary. And you know that you’ll leave the world and stuff. Skydiving is scary and people are afraid of it, even though it seems fun and cool. But when you board that plane, fear creeps into your mind and body. Fear is a natural human emotion. It alerts us to the presence of danger or threat to our existence (sometimes). Fear, of course is a mental and/or psychological response to physical or even emotional danger. But the psychological emotion results in many physiological changes as well which cause us to act in a “different” way. When we fear something we act under the control of fear. It’s the same with happiness and other emotions. If you’re happy, there’s a great chance you’ll be full of energy—physical and emotional—and you’ll be able to think and act in a bold manner. But, it turns out we humans don’t really like fear. It makes us feel —well, it makes us feel scared. It’s just not a good feeling to have, even though there are some good traits of fear such as “alerting” or informing us of danger or threat as I touched on above. That’s all good, but when fear rises to such a high extent that you can’t think or feel anything but the fear—that’s sad.

So how do we get rid of fear? Don’t. Face it.
Fear will never go away. It’s actually good to feel fear. It means that you’re alright. You’re a normal human being. There are rare cases when people can’t feel fear, due to some damage to their amygdalae. But the point here is that it’s normal to face fear like any other emotion and you should accept it that you are not not afraid of anything. Saying you’re not afraid of anything is like saying, in another sense, nothing in the world ever makes you or has made you happy.

Anyway, to live life to our full potential and even be happy and proud and sometimes content with life it’s wise, if not necessary to do the things you fear.
As John Shedd put it—
“Ships in harbor are safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.”
And as it’s clear that fear isn’t a thing we can get rid of—unless you damage your amygdalae on or off purpose—we have to face it.

I feel fear is great. Since we can want to do the best things in the world and still be afraid to do them. Rollercoasters and skydiving are great examples of this. They’re both amazing and fun, at the same time being really scary for some.
But after we do something that makes us feel our fear and face it and do the thing we fear, once we do it, we understand and usually even tend to believe that, there was nothing to be afraid of.

But, what I don’t quite understand is that why do we feel fear at the wrong moment? Back to the skydiving example, we feel fear before doing the thing. Before going up the airplane and jumping out with a parachute. But when we jump out and watch the beautiful earth from down below, there’s no fear, just absolute bliss and peace. No fear. When we should be feeling fear (in the air after jumping off the airplane), we don’t feel no fear. And when we shouldn’t feel fear (the night before and while going up in the airplane), we feel fear. And that solves all of it. The only way to win against fear is to face it and do the thing you fear. Because…

“God Placed The Best Things In Life On The Other Side Of Fear.” — Will Smith

Credits and bibliography: Will Smith’s story on “What Skydiving Taught Me About Fear”
Facts about fear: Fear – Wikipedia

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