I deal with fear every day. Not just my own, but that of the humans and canines that I’m working with. Because I spend so much time working to undo trauma, usually caused by excessive fear – I think about fear…a lot. So, I decided to write down some of my thoughts on the subject, and for fun, I decided to share them too.
I don’t know how much this is true in other countries, but I know in America, we are very well trained to be afraid – of EVERYTHING.
I know many people who think they aren’t afraid, and I have to say, then they don’t know what fear is. For many people I’ve spoken to, particularly men, fear means that your adrenaline is rushing, your heart is pumping, your knees are shaking, etc., but that is only one level of fear. Fear is something that most of us experience all day long, every day – it’s such a normal state of being, that we don’t recognize it as fear, and it prevents us from feeling safe in a variety of ways.
We have to be afraid of strangers, afraid of drugs, afraid of guns, afraid of not having guns, afraid of the government, afraid of our neighbor, afraid of specific dog breeds, afraid to help others, afraid to eat food (fat is bad, meat is dangerous, etc.), and afraid not to eat that same food (fat is good, meat is good for you, etc.).
We are afraid to parent our children (spank, don’t spank, reward, don’t reward). We are afraid to say the wrong thing to our boss, our coworkers, and our spouses. No matter what we do, we’re going to get ‘it’ wrong – at least according to someone. We might just drink the wrong soda, buy the wrong diaper, wear the wrong brand of clothing…and then we will be ostracized, unloved, unacceptable.
Everything is something to not do, or to be afraid to not do. We are very much trained through fear to NOT do things …only we can’t make up our minds on what is and isn’t something to be afraid of; what to not do. We aren’t clear if something is good or bad because the opinion of that changes from time to time, and person to person.
We should be afraid of other countries, other religions, other colors of skin, but you must also accept everyone as a friend without judgment because if you don’t, you’re a bad person.
We have to fear our own sexuality (we are often very uncertain about our own ability to be “good” and acceptable in this regard), and we have to let everyone else be fine with theirs, while we are afraid that they will harm us, our children, our families, and corrupt our country if they don’t believe and think like we do.
Loving someone different than what others think is acceptable, someone too different from us, or too much like us, can be a crime of immense proportions. We fear love, and not having love. We fear acceptance, and lack of acceptance. We fear judgment of ourselves by other, and ourselves…and so on, and so on.
Pornography gets more graphic, more addictive, more available than ever before…because we fear having appropriate sexual outlets, and we fear sex, and we fear not having sex, and we fear that we are sexual beings.
We, of course, are never the problem. It’s always someone else’s fault, someone else’s doing. We blame others so we don’t have to take responsibility because we fear doing so – and we fear not having the opportunity to take responsibility, and be given credit.
We fear that we are bad people. This is probably the most common fear…along with the fear that someone will discover that the truth about us is that we’re a bad person, with dark thoughts, and unacceptable ideas, and feelings. If others discover the truth, then we will no longer be worthy of love.
We fear to love others because they will break our hearts, we fear to trust, and we fear being afraid.
It’s very important in this world to be afraid of climate change, and pollution, and also to be afraid of the solutions to climate change and pollution.
We have to be afraid of not having enough money, and be afraid of having money because money is evil, and rich people are evil, but it’s important to want to be rich, and successful because we are afraid of being normal, and ordinary.
We are afraid of being dirty, and afraid of being too clean. We have to fear “superbugs,” and the antibiotics that cure us. We have to fear cancer, and disease, and all the foods, medications, and mindsets that cause cancer and disease (which change regularly). We are afraid to not be healthy, and we are so afraid of the world, so filled with stress and anxiety, that being healthy in this regard is nearly impossible.
Many of us have spent our whole lives in fear. The world is always about to end, whether it’s the apocalypse, a Russian nuclear warhead, the bees dying off, or the super volcano in Wyoming…We need to know that life as we know it could end at any moment, we are not safe. Of course, this has been true for millennia. The world has been about to end, probably since humans thought of it as a possibility.
A woman cannot walk the street alone; she might get raped, mugged, or murdered. Parents cannot let their children go out to play, someone might kidnap them and sell them into slavery. Everyone has to be afraid of candy from strangers, even if we are the one handing it out. Everything we buy from the store has a tamper-proof seal just in case someone wants to poison it, and kill us.
We are told to seek power, and that power corrupts. We are shown that there are heroes, whom we may also have to fear – they may protect us, or hurt us, and we never know for sure which it’s going to be. We must fear the enemy (even if we loved them yesterday), and each other, and you never know who will turn out to be the bad guy, or think we are.
We can’t trust anyone, because everyone lets you down eventually. Politicians, lawyers, car sales men, they’re all corrupt – but then we must also fear doctors, police officers and those that are supposed to keep us safe.
We must fear for our lives every time we step out our doors, and probably while we’re inside too – the building could catch fire, or you could get carbon-monoxide poisoning, or someone may come in and rob and murder us.
We need to always be on alert, always afraid. There is no safety in the world, not anywhere, and not in anything…everything could kill us, from a gun to a banana peel, from a stranger to our child, from a mouse to a thunderstorm. We are never, ever safe.
We cannot undo the fear by telling each other not to be afraid, or by telling each other all the same things we’ve been saying for eons; fight it, ignore it, let it go, take deep breaths, come to the realization that it isn’t real, change your mind, think happy thoughts, and so on.
If we want to stop the fear, we have to solve the problem. Much like solving the problem of being hungry, by eating food and meeting the need that caused the hunger, we will have to start looking at the need that causes the fear, and fill the need.
The most common need when one is afraid, is safety. I believe that if we work to create safety, by being safe, then others will feel safe with us and become more safe to be with. It’s amazing how much more trust and joy you can create by meeting the need for safety, in others, and yourself.
We will have to stop seeing fear as the enemy, and start to see it as an ally, a friend that tells us, and motivates us, to fill a need. We will have to start with learning how to fill our needs without creating more fear, for ourselves, or others. We will have to learn what a true need is. We will have to learn how to neither be, nor ask another to be a sacrifice for our needs. We have much to learn about fear.
When we learn to work with our fear, instead of against it, we will become the heroes we were born to be, and then we can start an heroic revolution.
Much peace, and cyber hugs,