“I’m going to paralyze you”, or possibly, “You must beware of this or that”? We are afraid of spiders and creepy-crawly critters. We are afraid of public speaking and heights. We are afraid others we will see through us, and we are afraid of the future. But looking more closely at the concept of fear reveals one thing: the message we get from fear doesn’t always have to be negative.
Fear is (sometimes) bad.
We tend to associate fear with negativity. Fear expressed as anxiety and nervous breakdowns is an acute state of being overwhelmed by the negative anticipation. That fear might be irrational, imagined or even(rarely) the result of a real threat.
Millions of Americans are currently suffer from anxiety. These individuals have difficulty completing simple daily tasks because their fear of situations, other people, and potential scenarios stops them in their tracks.
Essentially, fear can get in the way of simply living, making life very unmanageable. We don’t take risks, go on new adventures, or try new things because we fear the unknown and all the bad what-ifs that are dragged along with the fears. So it comes as no surprise that fear gets a bad rap. But, should this always be the case?
Fear is (often) a good thing.
What if you were wrong about fear?
What if the message you get from fear isn’t truly bad or harmful? If fear could speak, it would say two things to you:
“Let me protect you.”
Fear as a perception of a threat or danger.
Fear can save lives, as this wonderful short animation film tells us.
Fear lets us acknowledge imminent threats and encourages us to take measures necessary to protect ourselves and those we love.
Consider this: if it weren’t for arachnophobia, the fear of spiders, many of our ancestors would have perished. The fear of spiders helped to save people in Africa from some of their deathly venomous bites.
A study revealed that during the early evolutionary stage of human life, people developed a capacity to identify dangerous spiders, and this skill gradually became imprinted in their DNA. The fear of spiders is a survival instinct we’ve inherited from our great, great, great-to-the-nth-power grandparents.
Fear can be life-saving. It keeps you alert to dangers, physical and otherwise, and it ensures that you always approach people and situations with a critical mind. Fear does its best to make sure you survive.
Fear allows us to quickly take appropriate measures to protect ourselves when our bodies feel under siege, and without it many of us wouldn’t make it very long in this life.
So yes, fear can be incapacitating at times and might prevent us from enjoying life and experiencing unique moments, but it also helps and protect us from real dangers and threats. So embrace fear, and learn to take advantage of its protective messaging system.
Using fear positively
In times when fear incapacitates you, try to turn it on its head and view it as a motivator, and appreciate its thoughtful protective motives.
Fear is in a sense an awareness of your discomfort to a situation or apprehension about an experience that’s unknown.
When this kind of fear kicks in, see it as an opportunity to seize that moment and conquer that fear.
So, go give that speech, go visit that old friend you’ve been meaning to connect with, move to that new city. I dare you to say “I love you” even if it’s not reciprocated. Let fear set you free. Let it be your catalyst to start a new life as you begin to use each internal fear response as a guide to expanding yourself.
About the Author:
Chassie Lee is the Content Expert for eReflect – creator of 7 Speed Reading which is currently being used by tens of thousands of happy customers in over 110 countries.