What are you afraid of?
I don’t mean those things that scare you when you wake in the middle of the night and are too drowsy to bother with a light and you’re not sure why you’re awake anyway; but the things that haunt you in broad daylight, that take your breath away in the middle of a sunny afternoon, surrounded by people who should make you feel safe.
What we fear, and how we deal with it, can give experts cause to discuss and explain and share strategies for accepting that can seem as varied and endless as the stars in the sky. Some would tell us fear is a good thing; that it’s healthy, that it’s normal. I’m not here to dispute any of that; I’m merely curious what brings out that heart-thumping, knee-shaking, hair-standing-on-end reaction in each of us.
No two people show exactly the same fears in the same way. Of course, two people in a crowd may both be afraid of spiders, but they will manifest their fears quite differently- one may simply scream when she sees a large spider land nearby but another may actually jump on the closest chair at its approach. And who’s to say any reaction is right or wrong?
Some people freeze when confronted with their fears; while some strike out, either at the object of their fear or at their environment, at something they know cannot hurt them. Family members have arguments that are rooted not in actual differences but in fears, which they may be reluctant to share with those closest to them.
How do you handle fear? Do you confront it head on, or try to ignore it until it or the cause goes away? This is a common choice for many of us, and a natural instinct, but unfortunately one that usually doesn’t work. Even if you can wait out the cause of your fear, there’s nothing to stop it from returning if it’s not been dealt with. Ignoring the source of our fears is at best a delaying tactic, and a confrontation, while not desirable, is usually inevitable.
Perhaps it’s better to face fears on our own terms, rather than wait for them to take us by surprise, to catch us when we are most vulnerable. While it’s never easy to do so, the reward is a sense of achievement that can’t be found elsewhere. Your particular fear may not be something that can be overcome by one person, but perhaps your courage will inspire others to act. Perhaps you can beat your fear by sharing it with others, and working together. Perhaps in camaraderie you will find the end of fear.
Here’s to being human-we all are sometimes afraid, and we all have trouble facing those fears. Here’s hoping you are successful at overcoming yours, whatever they may be.