It’s not what you’re afraid of, it’s why you’re afraid of it. The irrationality behind the things we are most genuinely fearful of says more about us than being afraid does. I don’t think fear is something we’re meant to overcome, but to understand why we are afraid is. We are not without our flaws and we are not meant to transcend them as much as we are what they create in us: little monsters who put up walls that keep out more than just the fear, but the unparalleled possibility that the unknown brings.
It’s not that your fears are valid, or that they are truthful, that is not what I mean to say. It’s that there is an undeniable peek into what it is that maims us in what we inherently fear. The unknown? Failure? Suffering? Aloneness? What is it about these things that keeps us at an arms length, glaring with disdain, offering pittance to those who are drowning in it?
But they drowned themselves, because the fear of something is the only thing that has a hold on you. Ask anybody who has ever been through something significant, and it’s usually when your “worst fears” come true that you find a new light of hope. You see that the time and energy you gave to fearing was greater than the reality of it. But yet, it does not distill the rawness of it. You’ll feel it either way. It’s just a matter of seeing pain as just hurt without reason, or an essential catalyst on your journey of growth.
I try to choose the latter, but of course, I’m not always successful. I probably beat myself up about that too often, because it’s more normal than not, I think. And I think it would be odd if we were completely without fear. It would indicate that we are in a state of naivety when it comes to the reality of the universe in which we live. It is a scary, scary place and life is no better because the truth is, you really don’t know, and what you don’t know can kill you, but it usually doesn’t.
There’s a fine balance between awareness and debilitating fear. We walk it most days, and we tip back and forth. I don’t think there’s a solution, and there’s no which way to jump off. It is just part of the human condition. We must not reach for an escape, but learn how to center ourselves, and love the fact that the unknown can also bring us wonders beyond our wildest imaginations. Every bit of fear has it’s miraculous counterpart, if only we choose to acknowledge it.