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Author Topic: Flamekeeping - fear  (Read 2161 times)
HeartShadow - Cutethulhu
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« Topic Start: November 08, 2010, 01:22:40 pm »

Fear
It's one of the most primal emotions.  It skips past much of the brain, speaking directly to the fight-or-fight reflexes.  We react to fear, not act.  We can think before or after the fear, plan for it.  Think about it.  But the fear itself?  It simply is, and how we react to it speaks to the most primal parts of our nature.

Meaning what?  Meaning people that fear are often not very nice.  When you're worried about survival, you don't care about being nice.  Fear is about protection.  It's about danger and the need to get away from it.

Which is fine when you're talking about real dangers and a real need for that flight or fight reflex.  If you're in a bad situation, fear is a good thing.  It protects.  The problem comes when the fear itself stands between you and where you want to be.

Fear is about protection.  Some of what we try to protect ourselves from, though, is the very stuff of life.  When we try to protect our heart from being bruised by refusing to be close to anyone, we're not really helping ourselves.  Fear is standing between what we want and where we are.  When that happens, the fear itself is the enemy.

Of course, saying that is easy.  But doing something about fear is hard.  It's primal.  It ties in to places that are hard to look at, hard to deal with.  And what is or isn't a justifiable fear is also hard to determine.  Sometimes out of worry of being seen as mean, we ignore our fears.  Sometimes out of fear, we ignore the fact that we are being mean.  There are no easy answers.

Now, I'm not talking about the crippling kind of fear that requires therapy.  If that is what you have, by all means, get help!  That is why we have help – to be used.  There is no shame or failure in being unable to handle it yourself.  Fear especially is tricky and slippery to get ahold of, and sometimes what we think we're afraid of isn't the actual problem.

Fear itself isn't a problem or a solution.  It's an emotional reaction.  It's what we do with it, and how we prepare for it, that changes things.  And it matters if what we fear is rational or not.

Sometimes people fear people who are different.  Or ideas that don't match what is in their mind.  We fear being hurt, being less, being more.  We fear being alone, being with other people.  Loneliness and companionship.  Fear is beyond logic, beyond rationality.  And it tugs at the deepest parts of us.

The only thing that matters is that we do not let it stop us from what we need to do.  Fear is inherently about self-protection, but sometimes we try to protect ourselves from the very things we need to do.  We fear change, but we need it.  We fear failure, but without a chance of failure there is no real success.

We need our fear.  It protects us, and stripping away our protection is never a good idea, any more than going out in the snow naked is ever a good idea.  And yet – and yet.  We also need to know when fear isn't the answer, and when to step out onto the ledge even though everything inside screams at us to stay safe, stay away.  We need to know when to listen to our fear, and when to push it aside.

Pushing aside fear is one of the hardest things to do in life.  It's something we all  need to learn how to do, or we'd never leave the house, but it's difficult.  But if we never push aside the fear, if we never let ourselves open to possibility, we will never become anything.  There is no success without a chance of failure.  There  is no failure without fear.  If you don't fear failure, you're not risking enough.  There is nothing without risk in life, so it is something we have to embrace, as much as we don't want to.  There is nothing without struggle, without fear – without the occasional failure.

We need to face our fears, and recognize whether they belong or not.  Whether they actually serve their goal of protection or only cause us more pain.  And we need to embrace them, and find a way to move forward in life regardless of the fear that we feel.  For truly, what we fear is in large part what we are.

Prompt – what do you fear?  Why?  What does fear mean to you, and what do you do when you feel it?
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« Reply #1: January 13, 2011, 02:51:01 pm »

Fear

True to my word, I came and started looking at your philosophy. This is the first I've read, but it really rings true with me. I have an anxiety disorder and fear is my constant companion.

I've learned that I cannot let the fear of fear itself control my life. I've had to come to grips with the idea that fear, for me, is an unrequited and uncomfortable feeling that will pass. I've learned to think during fear, even if it's not quite rational, I've learned to decide whether I need help or whether I'm strong enough to take it alone and I've learned to talk myself out of fear.

You're completely correct when you say fear is primal. Fear attacks your "fight or flight" responses. For me, when I have a panic attack, I sometimes do irrational and crazy things. I once cut off all of my hair during a panic attack. I've been known to run away, cut my hair so short that it could be considered a buzz cut, and other things that are incredibly irrational and unhealthy. However, that's just the fight reaction.

My flight reaction has resulted in me receding into myself so far it's nearly impossible to get myself out, losing all emotion whatsoever, and curling up into a ball and blocking out everything but my own thoughts (which is trapping my enemy inside my own head, but that's beside the point).

Fear is one of my strongest adversaries, right after myself. I agree with your logic quite a bit.
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