Fear is a distressing negative sensation induced by a perceived threat. It is a basic survival mechanism occurring in response to a specific stimulus, such as pain or the threat of danger. Fear is apparently a universal emotion; all persons, consciously or unconsciously, have fear in some sort. In short, fear is the ability to recognize danger leading to an urge to confront it or flee from it (also known as the fight-or-flight response) but in extreme cases of fear (horror and terror) a freeze or paralysis response is possible.
Additionally, fear is frequently related to the specific behaviors of escape and avoidance, whereas anxiety is the result of threats which are perceived to be uncontrollable or unavoidable. It is worth noting that fear almost always relates to future events, such as worsening of a situation, or continuation of a situation that is unacceptable. Fear can also be an instant reaction to something presently happening. All people have an instinctual response to potential danger. This emotion is described as fear and is inherent in all people. Fear, whatever its source, can become a controlling factor in a person’s life. Fear can channel one’s energies away from areas of perceived threats and into directions that seem safe.
The Unknown Ruler: Fear
So many forms of fear, many of them tricky. I have shared about my young dog Aubry and his resources guarding issues in the past. He’s getting much better, but its fear that drives his behavior. He’s an animal, so when he fears he needs a resource, and I mean REALLY needs it to survive, he attacks. Does my sweet little guy really think this one bone or toy stands between him and survival? Perhaps, in the moment. We humans can’t attack like this, although we sometimes so.
I laugh at the thought of me attacking someone atStarbucks for getting the LAST blueberry muffin, as if it’s the last one on earth. Humans must show more control, and we do…some of the time. What violence in our world isn’t brought on by fear? What percentage of that ‘fear’ has actually taken place…or is it just a perceived threat our human mind has convinced us of? I’m sure someone has attempted to do the math on this, I won’t here. I’m willing to bet most of the fear is based on things that haven’t happened yet.
This was a line in the incredible Dune novel by Frank Herbert. The litany against fear is an incantation used by the Bene Gesserit throughout the series to focus their minds and calm themselves in times of peril. The tell my boy Aubry the litany, but he hasn’t memorized it just yet:
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
Assignment: Make a fears list
– List everything your afraid of (spiders, losing family, car accidents, etc.)
– Review list and see how many things have ACTUALLY happened
Don’t let fear run your life.