Fear is the feeling of being completely out of control in desperation when facing a perceived or real threat completely outside one’s comfort zones. Some look at fear as an eminent life threatening situation but there are far more subtle fears that we face every day. We sometimes fear failure or fear the loss of a job or fear things happening that appear to pose a threat to our familiar way of life. Some fear heights or the fear of robbery or murder in their homes. So many people have a morbid fear of dying from some incurable and terrible disease such as cancer. Some of these fear are so chronically terrifying that they become paranoia, changing life to such an extent that victims of it become recluse and locked up prisoners in the confines of their minds and homes where they feel safest. But even these havens may not offer complete safety. What are people really fearful of? The loss of security or of dying? But how about the prospects of living and gaining the many enriching experiences that life has to offer?
We must avoid being prisoners of our overactive imaginations. Statistics are on our side against being killed or somehow violated by something we fear. Being killed by a car while driving on a familiar roadway or walking in a familiar parking lot to their car or crossing a familiar street is far more likely. 33,000 people lose their lives each year and far more injured by car related accidents. But cars are so much a part of life that we rarely think of them as harbingers of death or something to fear. Life should be more than just staying alive. It should be about hope, healthy living, and rewarding balance, instead of becoming prisoners of our fears. It may require that you occasionally move outside your comfort zone. One has far more chance of enriching life and finding something that brings reward and satisfaction than by being victimized by one’s fears of a dramatic change in one’s quality of life, comfort zone, or even death. One can find challenging and interesting things to do every day. But honestly how often does one face an event that takes them way outside of their comfort zone. The ratio is probably more than a 1000:1 in favor of an event that enhances one’s quality of life and not one that poses a real threat. This does not mean one should be reckless. One must exercise common sense to reasonably limit one’s exposure to real threats, not totally eliminate their possibility.
So I say don’t become a prisoners of one’s fears but instead become a participant in living the things one loves or dreams of doing. Dream big because we are far more likely to enjoy the pursuit of our dreams than the realizations of our fears. Life is about living and sometimes taking calculated risks. Each person has their risk tolerance but it should not be close to zero due to paranoid fears of dying or close to 100% and defying death. Both extremes are self-destructive. Life should be about living within reasonable moderation and placing one’s fear in proper perspective to what life has to offer so that we do not become prisoners of our fears.
There are circumstances which may call for a higher level of alertness than others but it is important to look at the big picture if there are no imminent threats. Life is all about taking reasonable and calculated risks to bringing new experiences and more meaning to life than simply staying alive which is not living. Life is about making adjustment as things occur and not turning everything into a threat and resisting change. Man is by far the most adaptable animal on earth. He was born with a mind capable of enormous levels of learning, understanding, and reasoning. One should use these abilities to adapt to threats, or try to change the circumstances to reduce them, or remove oneself from the threat.
Fears are normal but one should not allow them to consume one’s life and prevent one from living. Most non life threatening fears have options for removing them or lowering them to a concern. Often fears are not real so it is important to discern what is real or perceived. This might be very difficult for those consumed by it because such fears are not rational. But it is not healthy to let one’s fears dominate one’s life.