There is a popular brand of surfer, skater, and motocross clothes called No Fear. They appeal to the adventurous risk-taker.
I used to think living with No Fear was a good thing. After all, not living in fear sounds like a life filled with openness and fun. How bad could it be?
As I thought about it more, talked with others, read more, and meditated more, I gained a different perspective. Okay, I also had some misadventures which turned out to be life-threatening. (More about those another time)
Fear is healthy. Fear keeps you from doing something stupid, such as walking into traffic, texting while driving, or playing with electrical outlets.
Realistically, fear is mostly in our minds. It’s an imagined fear from a perceived threat. Most of the things we’re afraid of aren’t things we’ve experienced or are likely to ever experience.
I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened. ~Mark Twain
In fact, if you ask people what they’re most afraid of, the main fears boil down to fear of being abandoned, ridiculed, left out or about sickness or death. In survey after survey about causes of fear, public speaking is usually in the top ten. Social rejection, failure, and tests, can put most of us on edge or even stop us.
- Catagelophobia- Fear of being ridiculed
- Atychiphobia- Fear of failure
- Testophobia- Fear of taking tests
- Glossophobia- Fear of speaking in public
- Gelotophobia- Fear of being laughed at
- Athazagoraphobia- Fear of being forgotten or ignored
Beyond fear – Love as the middle way
There is another way.
Beginning with deep understanding of the root cause of fears is a first step. Looking within may take courage to examine. This might be done by self-study, in therapy, with friends, or in relationships.
Relationships are both fantastic and terrible as a way to address fears. Letting someone get close enough to us to see our fears can feel too intimate and too close. It’s one reason why many people seem to go from relationship to relationship, leaving or pulling back when they are feeling that it’s too close or that their secrets are being revealed.
It’s also why it may make sense to stay in a relationship to face your own issue. It could also be very healthy to reconnect with past relationships to unearth your own patterns (not theirs). Most people will attest: address the issue or encounter it again in the next relationship.
Building on love may seem scary. Like facing into the wind, it can also make you stronger, living in less fear, and living in more love.