Nothing but Fear Itself

Someone just told me: “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.”

It occurs to me that this applies to so many aspects of life that we all have to deal with. Fear moves us to do so many things; avoid pain by doing as much avoiding life completely, hurting others in an effort to avert our own hurt, giving up on dreams to avoid the pain of failure… I could keep going.

In my life, I have faced fear so great it has made freeze for a moment before I can gain the courage to act. That’s the thing about me, when I am afraid in the superlative sense, I freeze. The only time it may have been a good thing was when I came face to face with a cobra and my frozen fear gave someone the chance to scare the crawly monster away.

Last year, I was hit by a massive bout of depressive apathy. In hindsight that was a moment of fear so great that I convinced myself not to care about anything or anyone. Borne out of a series of disappointing episodes involving broken trust, friendships turned sour and a surprising discovery about myself, I froze. I remember only vaguely thinking that I couldn’t do anything that would put me in the same position of vulnerability to hurt, disappointment and uncontrolled anger.

In just a few months of being frozen in fear, I’ve lost out on so many wonderful opportunities. I regret that much more than any mistakes of judgement I could possibly have made.

Someone else who has been inspiring me lately said: If you can do one thing everyday, no matter how small, that scares you or challenges you, you are on the right track.

So here’s to diving into the really cold deep end of the pool. Okay, just sticking my foot in it. Yeah, just the toes.



2 thoughts on “Nothing but Fear Itself

  1. When you feel fear, celebrate, for it means you are alive! Young grasshopper, there is so much wisdom in this post. Thank you for sharing. Allow me to share a little anecdote that someone once told me. An old donkey fell into a well. The old farmer felt bad for it, and called his friend over to help him bury the poor old ass. After all the would not be able get the donkey out. They gathered lots of manure and started throwing it in. At each point, the donkey stepped on the manure as it piled up. Very soon, they saw the donkey’s head emerge. Moral – when life throws shit your way, use it to climb ahead. Love that one!


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