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What fear really is…

I’ve developed a new relationship to fear. 

To understand it, I first had to realize that I am neither my thoughts nor my emotions… If you don’t believe this, just think about when you were 8 years old. Think about your thoughts and emotions back then.  Did they stay the same up until now? No.  That means our identity goes much deeper. I believe our identity is simply our ability to observe, and our ability to take action.  Those are the only two things that have always been present (at an ontological level). 

So to truly understand a thought or emotion, we need to separate ourselves from it, and simply observe it, find it interesting, and get curious.  Because why take it seriously if it’s only on its way out? 

The second thing I had to understand was that every time I had a fear and faced it, there was some sort of growth that came as a result.  Some might consider this obvious, but the next part was not so obvious…

I’ve found that fear is excitement about something we have judged as harmful to us.  

Just think about that for a moment: “Fear is excitement about something we have judged as harmful to us.”

Afraid to quit your job and start a business? It’s because your mind took something that’s very exciting to you, and told you all the reasons you might starve and die and if you do this. Afraid to ask out that girl?  You’re excited at the notion, but your mind has convinced you that the rejection could be completely devastating. 

Let me give you the most base example.  My mother does not have a fear about skydiving. But the reason is not courage. The reason is she’s never been skydiving and never wants  to go skydiving. It’s not even on her radar.  Thus she spends absolutely no time being afraid of it.  But people who think about it and get really scared are those would love to do it, but they’re worried they’ll die (or they’re just afraid of fear itself). 

Now that I know what fear is, I start to get excited when I feel it, because I know there’s gold there. And as they say, courage is not the lack of fear. It’s feeling the fear and doing it anyway. 

It’s my hope that you’ll think of this post the next time you’re afraid, separate your identity from the emotion, and smirk because you know what’s up.  🙂 

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3 Comments

  1. Solve says:

    Nice thought. I am in a really turbulent part of my life and mabe trying to resist fear for the future. Thanks for this post, it sets fear in a new perspective 🙂

  2. Hi Robert, I enjoyed connecting with you today. I looked around I saw the breadth of your contribution and I totally get that you and I will play together some day. How and when is the magic question that will be so exhilarating in its unfolding.In response to your article, I appreciate you sharing this context and reframe on fear. I was once preparing for a speech and my coach at the time, asked if I was nervous, to which I responded an emphatic YES! He told me that what I was experiencing in my body was actually my souls excitement for the contribution I was about to make. He said that I was just misinterpreting that physical experience as nervousness. I like to tell that story because so often people stepping into their power and living their dreams come across a similar experience of thrill/terror. :-)Thank you for your sharing and for the light you bring to the world.Joelle

  3. MLH says:

    You are almost there,but not quite as the cause of all fear was not stated. The cause all fear is simply a lack of enough information. Another corollary was also not mentioned … All fear is irrational. With that being stated, let’s do a little analysis to verify the above and increase correct understanding. Let’s take a well known example. Many children are afraid of the dark. We as experienced adults (we have enough information about light and dark in a room) immediately see that the child’s fear of the dark is indeed irrational. When the fearful child obtains enough information about dark and light in a room, the child’s fear dissolves. The child learns that the room is exactly the same with the light on as it is when the light is off. So we easily see that all fear is irrational and that it’s cause and cure is going from a point of not enough information to a point of having enough information to bring understanding to the mind. Controlling one’s fear is one of the most difficult things a human being has to learn how to do; however, once that occurs, the persons life changes forever. Children that have obtained enough information about light and dark in a room, rarely, if ever, revert back to being afraid of the dark. 😉

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