Fear is amazing
Fear has a bad name, but I don’t think that’s entirely fair. I think fear can be amazing for you! It has an important purpose and it can be a great tool to guide you through life. But let’s start at the beginning.
Why do we have fear?
Fear is the way of our bodies to tell ourselves that something is dangerous or in the least, that there are risks involved. Needless to say that in the wild, this is a very important message, because fear tells you to run when you see a tiger. One of the biggest reasons we feel fear is also when we don’t know what to expect. We can’t see the end result as easily. Uncertainty leads to insecurity and we’re wired to want to avoid that.
What happens when you don’t have it?
I once had someone in my class that actually didn’t have fear. His body just wouldn’t produce the neurotransmitters necessary for it. Before I met him, I knew that fear could teach us things, but never how vital it is to stay alive. He was actually on pretty heavy medications to get some fear into him. Once, he told me some stories how his life was before those medications and it was pretty shocking. For instance, he wouldn’t jump away when a car came towards him, he would hurt himself climbing in trees, because he didn’t have a reflex to save himself. It put him in serious danger a few times. So, thank your fears for keeping you safe!
Have you ever walked somewhere and suddenly, you felt in uneasy? Yeah, me to. It was 9 o’clock and I was parking my bike in front of the house of a friend. Two guys walked past me and I felt the same uneasy feeling. I quieted my mind to stop myself from being scared, there was nothing wrong, right? Wrong. They stopped, grabbed me and robbed me. Then they kicked me into the bushes. Luckily I got off with just a few scratches, but I’ve always regretted not listening to my fears back then. Of course, 3 times out of 4, it won’t be a valid fear, but you don’t want to just push it away that fourth time.
If it scares you, it matters
Another thing why I think fear is great, is that it tells you what really matters. If you really think about the things that scare you, it’s often either in a way a fear of dying or pain, or a fear of losing something you love. Both things are very important!
Think of phobias; fear of flying, heights, spiders, dirt. These are all examples that are deeply involved with the fear of dying and pain. Although a tiny house spider is not poisonous, some spiders are, so the trigger of being scared is very valid. The same goes for the fear or dirt, although a muddy shoe won’t kill you, dirt can lead to deadly diseases, so it’s natural to gravitate towards cleanliness.
The fear of losing something can be found in the fear you feel when you’re dating someone, what if they don’t like you back? Or the fear of crowded spaces, what if you lose control or you lose the respect of people by doing something weird accidentally. We’re group animals, so staying in the group is necessary for survival, so being shamed can be psychologically tough.
I know a lot of friends of mine (and I used to have the same!) that tend to avoid things that scare them. They tend to break off relationships once they get too serious. They tend to avoid applying for the best jobs, because they are scared of being turned down and feeling not good enough. However, I’ve found that the things that scare me are often the things I want the most. The fear or rejecting tells me I care. I think that once you realise that, you’ll won’t run anymore the first chance you get. You’ll stop and think twice about why you want to run.
When fear is harmful
But, why does fear have such a bad name? I think that’s due to the disorders that have to do with fear. Sometimes, fears can lead you to react completely irrational and it can seriously derail your life. Think of people that don’t dare to go out of their houses anymore due to phobias, or people that have anxiety attacks. I think that those are mostly very rational fears, but they’re blown out of proportion.
As mentioned in my post about anxiety and depression relief tips, I have some personal experience with this. I have an intense fear of heights and I’ve suffered a few anxiety attacks. My fear of heights doesn’t bother me as much, since it is not a problem on a daily or even weekly basis. However, my anxiety attacks were a lot more disruptive in my life. But, throughout time, I’ve learned that they actually also have served a purpose for me. They always happened when I was stressed up to a point that I couldn’t find relief anywhere anymore and after an attack, I would actually feel much better. Of course, the attack itself sucks, but I would be so much more relaxed in the weeks after it. I’ve now learned some tips and tricks to not get to that point of stress anymore, like meditation and self-care, but it’s still good to know I can handle it when it does build up in the future. It’s going to be alright!
Why we love fear
However, some of us are also in love with fear. Some of us love extreme sports, some of us love horror and on a more serious note, there are only a few people that look away when they see an accident happen. But why? Why are we such thrill-seekers? Why do we love to tremble?
The first reason is adrenalin. Adrenalin is a substance our bodies make when we feel in danger. It gives us the necessary stress that drives us to fight or flight. However, this rush of emotion is also known to be addictive. This addiction comes from the immediate release of stress after the danger has subsided, which feels very pleasant. This release also happens when the monster dies in the scary movie or when the person in the accident survives. And on the other side, if it doesn’t end up happily, we enjoy the fact that it didn’t happen to us, especially when watching movies. Be honest: you do feel some sort of satisfaction when the annoying girl or the bully dies at the start of the zombie apocalypse.
Be mindful of your fears
So to conclude, I would urge you to be mindful of you fears. Sometimes, they deserve your honest consideration and you need to listen to your fears. What are they telling you? Are they telling you to run, because you’re in danger or because it’s an important decision you’re facing. Don’t always follow your fear, because that way, you’d never take a chance, but search for their merit. Is the risk higher than the reward?
Let me know what your biggest fears are and how you deal with them in de comment below. Also, if you liked this and want to get more regular updates, subscribe or follow me on my Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter!
Lots of love,
LisaHome » Mind »