Fear. We use this term so often, but we never stop to ponder over what fear is. Is it a feeling? Or is it an emotion? A reality? Or a fragment of our imagination? Truth be told, fear is all of those, yet none of them. Fear is a relative term. It varies from person to person and has a different impact on everyone. It has many different faces, each one imprinting itself in our thoughts in a way that we start to believe in them. We turn these non-existent pieces into reality, letting them control us and our actions. This self-imposed limitation prevents us from doing and achieving so many feats and milestones. The National Institute of Mental Health provided statistics that prove the same. 60% of the things people feared will never take place, and 30% are unchangeable events that were a past occurrence. In another statistic, 6.3 million people in the United States are diagnosed with phobias. That’s 6.3 million people who hold back because of their perceived understanding of their fear. The fear stopping us eventually morphs into regret. We start to think about what ifs. What if I wasn’t afraid of public speaking? Would I be the one giving that speech? If only I didn’t fear failure, would that be my idea up there? But by the time we ask these questions, it may be too late. The time to take that one step, and to pursue that dream, has already passed. In this situation, we as humans often forget that it is useless to constantly look back at a missed opportunity; instead of taking two steps backwards, we should build up the courage and take four steps forward. We should cross that line and discover our capabilities. Once this is done, we will have conquered the Fear within us. However, until we can do this, we need to accept our fears and move forward with them.
Marilyn Monroe once said, “We should all start to live before we get too old. Fear is stupid. So are regrets.” She was right. Fear is stupid, but if we accept it and continue to live to the fullest, the courage will follow, as only those who know how to live with fear, know how to live with courage.
National Institute of Mental Health, https://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml