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A Careful Subject: Fear

Updated: Aug 13, 2019

What is fear? A feeling of anxiety? A response to danger? Experiencing alarm?

We all have felt fear multiple times. It can show up as large or small and can manifest itself all the way from worrying to flight.

How is fear combated, overruled? Many say the only way to get around it is by having courage. Is one brave in facing down fear or a coward in having it in the first place? Most fear is thrust upon us and I believe that courage shows up when one is afraid but sets fear aside and takes action.

If you are too afraid to take action, are you a coward? No. Courage is easier to see, to feel, to laud. Cowardice is more complex. One can face fear without taking action and still be brave. Not taking action is sometimes the best choice. Being a coward is to be dishonorable. None of us want to be on that list.

What are the fears that haunt you? In naming our fears we are more able to manage them. Naming them is a good first step as well as a good, repeated one. Looking them in the eye comes later.

Can you list your FEARS? Can you list them from small to large? If so, you are taking the right direction in not allowing fear to control you, to rule your life in any way.

Each of us has our own set and they are designed by our individuality. Each personality is likely made up of some fear. What we are afraid of may not be weakness but what we are not afraid of can be strength.

Are you able to name ten of your fears? Here are some suggested categories.

Fear of:

• heights, water, insects, snakes, flying, the dark

• being lonely

• evil, becoming evil, or succumbing to evil

• ending up with an unhealthy mind or an unhealthy body

• not being worthy in your job, your family, your life

• being lost, physically or otherwise

• rejection

• accidents

• public speaking

• pain – emotional or physical

• surroundings

• death

• people – all, some, or certain individuals

• something bad happening to loved ones or to yourself

• being afraid and/or not knowing what you’re afraid of

• not being courageous if called upon to be

This list does not cover all possible fears, of course, but hits home to some of us. We are always going to fear something because it is human nature. Certain fears are inherent in every one of us.

Have you ever considered that fear can be a strength? Examples: If you fear snakes then you are going to make every effort to not be in their path; if you fear heights then most likely you will never fall from the top of a tall building because you are strong enough to recognize that fear and to not ever put yourself in that position; if you fear the dark then you’ll always keep lights on.

Thomas Carlyle said, “Every man has a coward and a hero in his soul.”

We know somewhere in our hearts and brains that if we are too fearful we’ve lost the battle before its begun. We need to thoroughly understand that if we look fear in the face, yes – right in the eyes – and refuse to let it take over us that it will ebb while we are taking the important steps of walking right through it.

I don’t hold myself up as having no fear. Far from it! I’ve been “fortunate” in that I have had so many fear-causing events in my life that fear no longer governs me in heavy ways as it once did. When you have suffered many events of calamity I believe, if you are open to it, that you can conquer many fears.

Look at the list of fears in this article and identify which ones are yours. Or make your own list. Read your list often. Remember, a large part of conquering our fears is to identify them then face as many of them as we can. This practice is to become a soldier in the battle against fear.


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