“Fear seems to be epidemic in our society; we are afraid to start, we are afraid to end, we are afraid to change, we are afraid to stagnate, we are afraid to succeed, we are afraid to fail. We are afraid to live, we are afraid to die … “Susan Jefferson
Fear is a very strong emotion; the physical changes that could happen to us in a few minutes are very fast: Our heart beat accelerates, we have cold sweats, and our breathing becomes faster.
In our society, we have been made to believe that fear is a very negative emotion, something that we must absolutely avoid at all costs, and we tend not to talk about it.
As a result, hundreds, even thousands of people hide in their “precious” comfort zones, so much so that they are even afraid of being afraid!
But, is it really something negative just because it’s embarrassing?
Here are 3 myths related to this emotion which I will clearly disprove. I promise that at the end of this article you will have a totally different perception than when you began to reading it.
Fear is a strong argument or a good pretext to avoid achieving a task:
Let me go a few years back-in fact, more than 10,000 years back to be exact!
I’m speaking of prehistory, where man’s only true profession was HUNTING.
So every day he went out to hunt and brought the prey back to feed his family.
Imagine if a caveman thought to himself, “I’m too afraid to go hunting today, so I will stay in my comfort zone in other words, my cave, and I’ll just go hunting tomorrow.” Would he and his family have survived?
OF COURSE NOT! The entire human race would have gone extinct long ago, and there would probably only be fossils left similar to what happen to dinosaurs!
After 10,000 years we are not as evolved as we may believe; this fear remains anchored in our genes and it’s not going anywhere…
Fear is not an excuse to avoid something. On the contrary, it is a reason to pursue it. It’s being in th zone and acheiving the state of flow. It’s an indication of getting out of your comfort zone and finding adventure…
Fear is proof that you are alive, that you will learn, that you will meet new people, and who’s knows maybe you will even participate in changing the history of humanity.
“Fear cannot stop you from dying, but it can keep you from living” -Najib Mahfoud
It’s a negative emotion:
We were made to understand that the less we are afraid, the more we are happy. This was designed to convince us to consume more and more.
On the contrary, it’s overcoming fear that is is the path to hapiness not avoidng it.
As an emotion, fear is a sign, a GIFT FROM GOD… we must not ignore it. On the contrary, we must accept it, live with it, and try to understand where it comes from.
Fear is also a signal that detects your weaknesses, but at the same time it allows you to pursue PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT.
Who knows? Perhaps it indicates the presence of a certain threat or a limitation that you must overcome to achieve success and have more opportunities in life.
Every fear is natural and therefore justified:
Fear has always been linked to our survival genes; our ancestors needed fear to avoid danger!
Let me explain…
The stronger the fear our ancestors had, the higher their chances of survival were. Women in particular were more vulnerable and, thus had a stronger sense of fear. In an extremely difficult time, when there was no police or army to protect the people.
Our ancestors are those who survived by experiencing more “doses” of adrenaline. Its thanks to this fear that we humans still exists today. And one must be grateful.
There are also totally natural fears of biological, GENETIC origin; the fear of death is one. It provokes the same biological reaction you would have in response to a tiger, a snake, or a knife-wielding assailant.
It is linked to our very nature; our true-self.
Today, one cannot deny that human beings have a genetic predisposition to react with fear to certain stimuli. For example: fear of loud noises and fear of heights.
Some animals even have very interesting reactions. You may have seen this old trend on YouTube of videos of cats scared at the sight of cucumbers or zucchinis placed discreetly behind them by their owners.
This could be due to the mammals’ genetic predisposition to fear snakes, whose shape and color are similar to cucumbers!
Being afraid of rejection is also a more or less justified fear. 10,000 years ago, had one person been rejected from the tribe, he would’ve have died. One is more likely to survive in the presence of a large group, and those in tribes were more secure against other tribes and wild beasts. Furthermore, there is a greater chance of success in hunting when hunting in groups.
Social rejection has even been associated with stress-related physiological reactions, like increased blood pressure (Stroud, Tanofsky-Kraff, Wilfley, & Salovey, 2000) and cortisol levels (Dickerson & Kemeny, 2004).
But are all fears really justified?
Not really, otherwise social phobias like fear of spiders, public places, failure, and disease would be justified.
These fears are more often the result of childhood events, such as the experience of physical and verbal abuse by parents. The child of a father who is absent on a physical or emotional level may suffer from a great fear of authority when he reaches adulthood.
One could change and free oneself from being a victim of these fears through self-improvement. It’s a real challenge, but it’s manageable if you have the will to do it.
Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
YASSINE BARNAOUI is a freelancer, Blogger and certified life coach specializing in self-help (self-improvement) and a health coach in Nutrition. Originally a biologist with a Master’s degree in health and nutrition from the science faculty in Tetuan Morocco, he’s a neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) practitioner and he holds a technical certificate in Computer Management. He was able to successfully coach dozens of people. Read More…