What are you afraid of? And is it reasonable for you to have that fear?
In light of current events – which I honestly don’t even care to name or talk about in much detail – I’ve been dwelling a lot on the subject of fear.
I’m pondering questions such as, “is healthy fear really good or healthy?” and “should we differentiate between fear and wisdom?” and other such questions.
It’s my true confessions time: I have lived in fear a lot. I’ve lived in fear way too much. It has damaged me, it has diminished the quality of my life, and I permitted it for way too long.
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If you don’t know my story at all, I’ve gone through some years of panic disorder, made it through the other side, and in recent years I’ve dealt with anxiety to some degree or another.
Mr. Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said, “The only thing to fear is fear itself.” If you’ve thought that through, you’ve maybe realized that it’s a self-defeating statement. But for our sake, that’s beside the point.
The sentiment of Roosevelt’s statement rings true and is profound.
The truth of the matter is that fear should be our enemy.*
Fear vs. Wisdom
What does fear tell you?
What does wisdom tell you?
Fear tells you that there will be a negative consequence or outcome from a given situation. Fear is a type of faith in a negative instead of a positive.
Fear is natural and human nature. It’s actually a healthy response for many situations. Or we could say, it shows that you are mentally healthy.
If I am standing at the edge of a 200-foot cliff, it seems reasonable that I would be afraid to jump off, because I’ll almost certainly die if I do! If one has fear in this situation, it certainly tells that they are mentally healthy.
So if you’re in that situation, chances may be are that you could be not only afraid to jump, but afraid to stand close to the edge, even if there is a protective railing.
You might then even be so afraid of falling accidentally that you won’t go 50 feet near the edge.
You may even become afraid or traumatized from merely the thought of going anywhere near the edge, or allowing any loved ones to.
It may even linger and affect you long after you’ve left the place with the cliff because of the fear of that ever happening to you in your lifetime. Do you see where I’m going with this???
Fear says don’t even go anywhere near not only the edge of the cliff, but even close to that situation because something bad will happen.
Wisdom tells you that there will be consequences to your actions, they can be positive or negative, and you should weigh them.
Wisdom would say, “I feel fear in this situation, but in fact I can quickly dismiss that fear because if I act wisely, I will likely be safe with no need to fear or act out of fear.”
Is it courage, is it wisdom? I don’t know, but whatever the semantics are, I would call it the difference between fear and wisdom. Although, courage can sometimes lead us to do things that are foolish.
And I believe that if we walk in wisdom more than we walk in fear, we will be more healthy emotionally and our lives will just be a whole lot better!
What if this cliff has an amazing view, that can only be seen if you stand close to the edge, and you miss out on an awesome, beautiful opportunity because of a mostly irrational fear?
This question doesn’t have an easy answer, but what would life be like if you never lived in fear and lived more and more in wisdom? Just think it over…
I’ve heard people many times talk about healthy fear. There’s a healthy fear to cross the busy street because you’ll get hit by a car.
A healthy fear of this or that.
What if you could stand at the edge of a cliff, or be completely ready to cross a busy intersection with fast moving vehicles and experience no fear at all? How do you think that would feel?
But the reason you don’t cross that busy street is simply because you don’t want to lose your life, or have an injury.
It’s the same outcome whether we look at it through fear or wisdom, but fear will just be more uncomfortable, paralyzing and unhealthy than wisdom!
A Personal Example From My Life
One of the things I used to be really afraid of was getting sick.
I was slightly traumatized from getting sick in 2010. I got severe food poisoning, it was an awful experience.
After that I became afraid of getting sick in my stomach, and eventually afraid of getting sick in any way… from a minor cold, to a bad flu, and anything in between.
As the coronavirus has hit the world, I found myself still very afraid of getting sick in general, but unfortunately now in the middle of a pandemic!
It just so happened that I got very sick right in the middle of this pandemic, but with acid reflux!
The experience was so bad I went to the hospital because I thought it was something extremely severe.
We Need A Personal Revolution
Now I’m going to make the long story short.
After my experience with acid reflux – or whatever it was, because it was likely more than just that – I came to a realization.
I faced my sickness with fear.
I went through it with a lot of fear and anxiety.
I had enough anxiety to share with the whole world. I was afraid that something would happen and I might need surgery, I might even die, I might be permanently injured in some way.
Any irrational possibility I could think of.
After I made it through just fine, I realized that I have no reason to be afraid.
Yes, I said it.
I have no reason to be afraid.
And I tell you now, the quality of life, your health, your mental stability and a host of other things will be much, much better if you rise above fear.
If I were to get coronavirus, the chances are more than likely I’ll be just fine.
And if by a much smaller chance I were to get it and it didn’t turn out just fine, does fear or anxiety help me in any way?
If you have any doubt about the answer, it’s no. Fear weakens the immune system, clouds the mind, lowers the vibration of the human body which makes us more prone to sickness and bad health overall.
I could live in the best of circumstances or the absolute worst of circumstances, and fear will not help with either.
I can live in the “perfect” life situation and ruin it with fear. I could also live in a horrible situation and make it even worse with fear.
What’s more, I could live in a horrible situation and begin to make it better and put myself in a better place from not being in fear.
Do you see the point I’m trying to make? Fear comes to us, it’s human nature.
That’s what I would call “healthy fear”.
But we get to choose to make our lives worse in any given situation by feeding our fear, or we can make any and every single situation in our lives better by rising above the fear that comes upon us.
The situation will be there no matter what, but the bad situations simply lose the power over us if we don’t fear.
It may sound crazy to you, but I’ve kind of lived in both sides of the fence, and I’m convinced now more than ever that the best way for us to live life is to literally not fear anything.
Remember what I said about wisdom? Yes we need wisdom. We don’t do foolish things in the name of so called “courage”, we use wisdom to be safe and healthy and do what’s best for ourselves.
So instead of looking over the edge of the cliff and being afraid and ruining your experience and your mind through fear, you can have a peaceful experience and have the wisdom to know how to be safe.
I don’t have a secret to overcoming fear, it’s not always easy.
But it is possible, and it starts with a core belief that fear does not belong in you.
Unfortunately, I cannot guarantee that having fear or having no fear will change the course of your life or what situations will happen.
But what I can guarantee you is that the less you have fear or choose to entertain it you will be stronger, healthier, happier and live a better quality of life, no matter what the situation is.
The situation will be the same, we simply get to choose if we want our lives to be better or worse off.
What are your thoughts about fear and wisdom? You can feel free to agree or disagree with me and I’d love to hear what you think!
I sincerely hope that this post encourages you, helps you, and makes you think. I care about you and appreciate you. And I hope that after reading this, the quality of your life will be that much better. Have a wonderful day. Coffee cheers!
*In no way, shape or form am I belittling or demeaning anyone’s experience or struggles with fear, anxiety or any related problem. I am not an outsider to this because I have gone through deep levels of fear/anxiety and this article is only meant to be encouraging and uplifting, not cynical in any way whatsoever.