“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” Plato
“Don’t give in to your fears. If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.” Paulo Coelho
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Nelson Mandela
Fear is immobilizing, and one of the biggest obstacles, to making progress in any area. It begins when we are babies and we are searching for our mothers. It continues during our childhood years as we confront new friends, teachers, schools, moves and changes in family dynamics. Throughout high school and college we face criticism, ostracism, and a competitive atmosphere, which can leave us exhausted at the end of each day.
As we mature the aspect of fear remains. We worry about marriage, and later question if we did the right thing, and married the correct person. The search for jobs, houses and then raising kids, leaves us totally filled with anxiety. We are almost living our own childhood years through our kids, with an intensity and drive. We want our kids to do everything we couldn’t. The doubt and anxiety creeps in, and the old fears return.When our child wants the light on in the dark, we recall our own fear of the darkness. While some of us attempt a lesson, on the no need to fear the dark, the rest of us immediately turn on a light. If our child doesn’t make the team, we comfort and speak all the words we wanted to hear, when we were confronting such issues at their age.
As much as we would like to confront the boss about a problem, or pay raise, we find ourselves breathing more quickly, and unable to get the words spoken our loud. Of course the opportunity is missed, and off we go to our station, and back to work. I think if a friend, co-worker or the boss, reminds us of a parent or authority figure, we tend to shy away from a clash. By bringing the situation back to our childhood days, it appears to be too much to handle.
With our spouse we are insecure, just as much as a helpless baby. We fear their physical and emotional loss, as much as a baby fears losing track of its mother. As much as we argue and fight, in the end many of us make up happily, and settle back into a comfort zone. The situation has to do with our safety. We value and depend on our security area.
It is so difficult for kids, or adults, to venture far into the unknown. We like what we know, and we want to keep things that way. Adults are probably more attached, because there is no one forcing them to do something against their will. As adults we are required to job search. We may enter into situations that make us uncomfortable. If we don’t at some point in our lives, confront our dilemmas, they will have a hold over us that will become very restrictive.
Many mothers-in-law fear losing their sons, and grandchildren. Many daughters-in-law fear being controlled by their mothers-in-law. Many times the opposite may happen. How does one know when you are dealing with unpredictable people. Siblings fear losing their parents love to another sibling. Competition is high and morality is low. Grandchildren are often unwillingly held in competition, right from the beginning.
By filling our minds with dreadful thoughts, we are choosing a doubt filled pathway, full of shadowy images, of things that might transpire. Of course this is nothing more than watching a play or movie. None of it is real, but only our conjured images of possibilities. There are so many more happy outcomes, with more potential for becoming reality.
Worry can be crippling. It limits us in unfathomable ways. Understanding why we contain so much alarm, and doubt, leads us to a better understanding of the reasons. Panic is insecurity in the unknown. We think about what might happen, if we were switched from our present surroundings. Probably it is just as easy to dwell on the positive side, yet most of us refuse to be optimistic. I suppose if we expect the negative, we are never disappointed. The need to focus on the best outcome, rather than the worst, will release us from the confinement of fear.
If we ever want to try something different, go to another place, work on an unfamiliar job, or conquer and answer some of the major scientific questions in the world, we must crush our anxiety, or at the very least, subdue it. It is nothing more than our comfort zone, with what is familiar. We worry about what is new. Perhaps the unidentified appears as if it will hurt us, defeat us, exploit or use us. Maybe it will change us in some way. We cannot grow, without accepting the new. Stop defending what is not working, and embrace the strange and unfamiliar. It may offer a direction full of awesome discoveries.
Permitting fear to run rampant in our minds, will keep us confined. Breaking out of the prison of fear, and discovering the miracles of the world, alleviates all of our preconceived notions. Fearing to walk near the edge of a cliff, because of the possibility of a fall, is legitimate. Refusing to climb the gentle path in the first place, is illegitimate.
If we allow fear to take over, it can be crippling. We are tying our own knots, and wallowing in doubt and trepidation. Some of our doubts stem from childhood, and our lack of power to take care of ourselves. As adults we might attempt to try something new, accept changes based on our knowledge of the facts, and accept strange as something we just don’t know or understand yet. Nothing is as fear-filled as being locked in our own minds, with thoughts that are not based on anything real.
“I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always … so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.” Yann Martel
“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” Marie Curie