What Is Fear? Fear Is Nothing.

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What is fear?

There are “fears,” like the ones we see on TV – shows with the word in the title where people are put into coffins with cockroaches and eat all manner of offal. These fears are ridiculous;  These fears are nothing more than stunts designed to trick us into thinking an unpleasant taste or undesirable critters are real tests of our fortitude. Fake fears. Distraction fears.

There are fears that we learn to face, like being afraid of the dark or going to the doctor. With these, we cut our teeth and gain life experience and learn that there are times to endure.

There are night lights and lollipops and bandaids of all sizes, all designed to make the unpleasant a little more tolerable. But nothing beats knowing we’re not alone; having someone on-guard until the Sandman comes or holding a hand when the needle goes in somehow removes the fear.

We get over these fears. We grow up. We learn early to handle them on our own, in preparation for the bigger fish.

Because there are real fears that come from our own minds, ones that are much more sinister than anything a network could show. We may conjure monsters under the bed when they’re really between our ears, in our veins, under our skin. These are the types of fears that keep us awake at night. These are the fears that can tear a human body apart from the inside.

These fears stem from times when the hurt was too big, when we faced something bigger than we were ready for, when there wasn’t a hand to hold. These fears are clinched fists and tear-stained cheeks. These fears send us to the floor or to the fridge or to the liquor cabinet. These fears send some over the edge.

…what is fear?

With cockroaches and yucky food, there’s a sense of discomfort. The anticipation of unpleasantness creates unease.

In a dark room, overactive imaginations can do wonders with the unseen. The unseen is uncertainty. Uncertainty is uncontrollable. Uncontrollable is undesirable.

Unpleasant. Unease. Unseen. Uncertainty. Uncontrollable. Undesirable.

So much “un”… We don’t want the “un.”

We want pleasant. We want ease. We want peace of mind at knowing, or at least feeling equipped to handle, what’s coming next. The simple act of planning makes the most daunting tasks palatable.

Even the scariest, most-challenging obstacles are easier to tackle when we feel prepared for them. When we tell ourselves that we can do something, when our resolve is greater than our fear, we go headlong into the fray.

What is fear, then?

It appears that it’s nothing more than doubt. Self-doubt, actually.

Fear is a construct of our own minds, set up to protect our fragile egos from facing even the slightest bit of letdown. But where it comes from is also where it dies – when we decide that we are greater than the fear, that we possess the tools to dispel all doubt, we banish it.

Fear is in our minds.

Fear isn’t real.

Fear is nothing.