Friday, April 5, 2013

F is for Fear

Okay, I know fear is an emotion and I covered emotions in yesterday's post, but I honestly believe this is a subject that does deserve special attention. Fear is one of those good and bad emotions and it is something I am constantly striving to overcome.

For me fear has been a constant companion. I didn't even get my drivers license until last August because I was just so damned scared - of what I don't know. In fact, although I've become more comfortable with driving it still scares me. Maybe you don't know what I'm talking about - how debilitating fear can be, but it can certainly be a huge hurdle to leap on the way the self-improvement. Yup, for me at least this one gets it's own topic.

Fear stifles our thinking and actions - Charles Stanley

Fear is a healthy emotion - in it's place. We need fear (or at least a healthy respect for danger) to keep us from getting hurt. Being scared by standing on the edge of the cliff isn't bad. Cliff's are scary, but to be so scared that you can't get within 5 feet of the edge maybe is a little excessive. That little fear, though, is a warning that what we are doing is kind of dangerous and that's okay.

Debilitating fears, on the other hand, can get in the way of living the life that you want to live. Like me not getting my drivers license for so long - it got in the way of things. Unreasonable fears and phobias are things that need to faced if we want to live a full and happy life.

Sure, you can adjust, but Why? No, seriously, why adjust? Because it's easier than working to overcome the fear? Maybe you're right, but for me I don't believe that's an option. For me, that is the rock that started the landslide. If I let one fear start to control an aspect of my life then the next thing you know I'm going to being hiding in my apartment and jumping at every sound. And no, that is not hyperbole. Trust me on this.

We are to learn about fear, not how to escape from it - Jiddu Krishnamurti

I wish I had easy advice on how to overcome fear. All I know is that I was stubborn in my determination not to be ruled by fear. I strove to understand exactly what scared me about everything and then I confronted the aspects of what scared me. I tried to overcome the fear by facing it head on and making myself deal with it. I wasn't trying to control the fear or get rid of it, but understanding does help reduce it.

Driving scared me because the other vehicles on the road, my knowledge of bad drivers out there and the odd belief that I'm going to die in a car accident (don't ask, I don't know). These things still scare me, but I've translated that into being a very vigilant driver. I shoulder check, I use my mirrors, I keep a safe following distance. Things everyone should do really. I'm not letting my fear stop me so I made it work for me instead.

Travelling on my own is the same kind of thing. It scares me far more than it should, but I've translated that into something useful. I am a planner when it comes to taking a trip or a vacation. I study maps, I make an itinerary (a flexible one usually). It makes me feel better - and I think it makes for a better vacation in the end as well. I make that fear work for me.

I have made up my mind not to be scared of things. Now I try to embrace them (although you still won't catch me hugging a spider anytime soon). I'm not going to ignore my fear or suppress it, but I will not let it stop me.

Knowing what must be done does away with fear - Rosa Parks


  1. Crystal, I also have this irrational fear of traveling by car. I don't fear driving but I fear that other cars won't be paying attention and will cross the line and kill us! Once we're actually on the road my fear dissipates - it's just the anxiety that comes before. Fear is a weird thing.

  2. I have many fears and "what ifs" runnign through my head. I often just have to take a deep breath, say a prayer, and do it anyways

  3. My father's side are classic worriers - we fear what ifs - and I'm the latest in the long line. Great post!

  4. You wish you had easy advice on how to overcome fear... well I think you gave it. You face it head on. That's the only way to overcome it, is to deal with it. I don't blame you for having a fear of driving, people don't pay attention in their vehicles, they seem to think they're invincible, but I think it's great that it's made you more aware. I myself am nervous with driving, (I haven't had my license for long), but I am more nervous when someone else is driving because I'm not in control.

    Have fun with a-z.

    1. Oddly enough I'm a little bit better when someone else is driving - because I can pay even more attention to everything else!

  5. I have the opposite problem. I have no fear. Even of things that should be scary. Because of this, I jump right into business ventures without thinking them through. I do the same thing in various other areas of life, because I don't even concern myself with what might happen. My life has definitely had some excitement, but has also suffered some major failures that could easily have been avoided with a little natural reluctance.

    Dropping in from A to Z. This is my first year participating.

    Brett Minor
    Transformed Nonconformist

  6. That's a great post. I can actually relate to it, considering I panicked too before getting my license. I still have other fears, and I'm trying not to let them get to me by finding solutions.

    Stopping by from AZ Challenge.