Day by day, things evolve- nothing that exists tomorrow will be the same as what exists today. The evolution of nature, the evolution of knowledge, of people, of individuals; all these things, wrapped up in a paralysis of evolving- no matter how hard we attempt to slow it down, we find ourselves relentlessly fearing the enigma of what lies ahead.
I was once asked what the most prominent emotion of humankind is: which single emotion, above all, is the one that is the driving force behind all the others. The first and only thing that came to mind was fear. Like everything else in this world, fear evolves. Over the course of our lives, fear shapes our actions and limits our true potential. Fear is disguised in infinite forms, and evolves into bigger things, as we get older.
The miniscule, childish fears diminish, leaving us with fears we never thought to be possible: anything from money to relationships, and even the future; fears that we hold deep inside our tortured souls exist only to run the course of our lives. Fear is the driving force behind every decision we make as humans. We fight out of fear, we hold back out of fear, and, as crazy as it sounds, we even fear the act of being afraid.
The funny thing about fear is that it does not even exist- we create it ourselves. The human mind in itself is far from weak; the possibilities of discovery and achievement are endless, however, our mind’s establishment of fear limits them. Just take a moment and think about all the chances you have passed up in life. Was it worth it, to let fear suppress you from expressing your feelings for someone else? Did you find it worthwhile, to allow fear to prevent you from reaching out and obtaining a dream of yours? Having such complex minds designed with surplus potential is a blessing and a curse. A blessing, because we can do unimaginable things- a curse, because the fear we create within us knocks us down.
We create fear because we crave stability. As much as we would like to think we’re nomadic and adventure seeking, a repetitive, steady lifestyle is what we are after. Repetition is comforting. Breaking routine (however mundane it may be) tends to cause anxiety. Humans are creatures of habit, and although this is impossible to do, we want to have control over everything that happens in our lives.
The evolution of life in itself causes us to construct fears that hold us back from taking action to change the present. We fear new relationships, new careers, and new people because we cling to the familiarity of the past. The element of the unknown scares us away from liberating ourselves of our comfort zone. Separating ourselves from what we find to be most reassuring can be hard, but allowing ourselves to let people into our lives is what makes us evolve as individuals.
Love is the most affected by fear. We find ourselves afraid of love, and being close with others, yet this feeling is what we yearn for the most in this lifetime. Humans want to love and be loved; still, fear gets in the way of such a simple desire. Fear tends to hold us back from exhibiting our emotions up front to those we truly care about. Whether it is being afraid they won’t return our love, or that we are moving too fast, we use fear as an excuse not to inform those around us of our true feelings.
The fear of closeness itself has the potential to destroy humanity. We were created to experience life through relationships and to develop strong ties with family, friends, and significant others. Being afraid to be close with people prevents us from doing what we were created to do: live. It is ironic that we fear closeness when it is the foundation of life. However, we are only afraid of being close because we do not want to hurt ourselves in the process. We live life behind a wall of unnecessary fear. Because we want to control our future, we design this wall to protect ourselves from getting hurt by people we become close to.
We trick ourselves into thinking that keeping our distance will prevent us form being hurt later on. Little do we know, distancing ourselves is what really hurts us the most. Putting distance between those we care about and us does not do anyone any good. We were meant to experience relationships, even if it means being hurt in the process. Life is not meant to be lived alone; in the end, we want to be able to look back and reflect on a life full of strong relationships, not a life crippled by fear. Don’t let fear determine who you become close to. It is the people we are close to who allow us to evolve and present us with a fresh perspective. Each person that comes into our lives is there for a reason; do yourself a favor and don’t shut them out.
We always want to know what the future holds, and we spend so much time trying to control what happens to us that we ruin our present lives. No one is supposed to know what lies ahead- that’s what makes the future so mysterious and exciting. Waiting until it is too late to tell someone how you feel isn’t planning for a better future. Why do we let fear of the unknown strangle our human desire for compassion? We fear being hurt so much that we hold back our emotions. Holding back is what hurts us- not the act of expressing.
Life cannot be properly lived without creating deep connections with other human beings. We want lives that are full of happiness and ubiquitous joy, not lives that are tied down by useless fears. Why do we rob ourselves of the simple pleasures life has to offer? The only thing guaranteed in this lifetime is emotion- we are devised to feel anger, love, and be passionate about people we hold close; these things are what makes us human. Without knowing, we let fear take hold of our lives, idly watching as every moment, every opportunity passes us by. The little things, the times we could have confessed our love or appreciation, are swallowed up by our fear of the unknown, of rejection, and of screwing up by coming on too strong.
These moments, however, are what exist to make life beautiful- the sooner we let go of fear, the sooner our lives can be shaped by the beautiful moments that day by day recede before us. Instead of letting fear evolve, allow love to evolve- enjoy the positives of being human, even if it means taking risks and becoming vulnerable to those around us. That is what makes us human. Being vulnerable does not constitute weakness- it defines us by making us stronger, because revealing ourselves is the biggest leap of faith we could take as individuals, as a society, and as human beings. In the same breath, revealing ourselves can help us to look past fear and to start living.
Holding back benefits no one. Consider the little things in life that tend to be overlooked: compliment someone, hold someone’s hand, do something outside of your comfort zone. Stray from the perpetual blandness of daily life; worry less about materials and more about being introspective of yourself and those around you. Take time out of your day to tell someone how much you care, or how much you appreciate him or her.
Life is too short to be wasted on fear, but is definitely long enough to establish quality relationships and love one another. Even if we sometimes miss opportunities, it is never too late to confess to emotions. Learn to enjoy other people, and don’t be afraid to let them know how you feel. We cannot evolve as human beings if we don’t allow others to know what we’re thinking or feeling. Understand your own fears and work toward obliterating them. Life is a relentless battle of fear, but we do not have to battle it alone. Don’t continue to sit back and let fear define you- you will soon beget a rude awakening to the wonders you are missing.