Facing your fears can be hard, and you all probably know it.
In fact, show me someone who claims to have fear of nothing, and I’ll show you defence mechanisms at work.
But does our fear serve us?
Most of you could probably be tempted to say conclusively no, knowing perfectly well how this is about confidence, empowerment, and, obviously, facing your fears. But here’s where it gets a bit tricky.
As H.P. Lovecraft said, fear is the oldest and strongest emotion of mankind, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.
And when it came to fear, he was spot-on.
Fear is what’s kept us and our primal ancestors from getting into potentially harmful or fatal situations. The logic of biology is to sustain life. Therefore, we have a built-in alarm, widely known as the amygdala. So the amygdala is, essentially, what’s kept mankind alive for millions of years.
The problem is that for only a matter of a few millennia, we’ve advanced exponentially, and just totally out-civilized the conditions of our aforementioned primal ancestors. We no longer live in small hunter-gatherer tribes out in the wilderness. There are no rivaling tribes or hungry predators.
But our physical — and, hence, neural — advancement hasn’t kept up to speed! And basically, this is why we get anxious about certain things. Things of which we can’t fully embrace the implications, or, indeed, towards which we just feel an instinctive, knee-jerk apprehension, repulsion, or concern.
Our amygdala perfectly shuns what might progress us, and it only likes what feels safe and secure. For example, twiddling around on Facebook instead of studying. Playing Minesweeper instead of doing that report. We’ve all been there, gotten the t-shirt, etc., right?
Facing your fears isn’t just about roaring with derisive laughter as you gaze audaciously into Death’s horridly cancer-pale eyes. It’s about feeling secure — to an extent where you’re absolutely convinced that you’re gonna be fine.
Really, it’s about feeling confident.
Yes, we might step out in front of a drunk driver this weekend. Or the company we work for might go tits-up. It’s that kind of planet. Birth doesn’t come with a safety guarantee!
… But if we give our energy to the ridiculously minuscule odds of anything like those things happening every day, what kind of life are we gonna get?
“But wait a minute! Doesn’t that mean that you don’t need to be facing your fears at all?? LOL!”
Well, like I’ve said before, we “shouldn’t” do anything. We don’t “have” to do anything. But…
If you wanna live a confident life, you need to be facing your fears.
This means, if you want that job, you gotta prepare for that interview. And you gotta go into that interview head high, beaming ear-to-ear, because you’re gonna be set on owning that interview.
It means, if you want that six-pack, you gotta hit that gym and work up that sweat, several times a week. You gotta eat that broccoli (stop whining; it tastes great, and it’s healthy), and you gotta stop eating all that chocolate and pizza.
It also means, if you wanna live your dreams, you gotta be honest with yourself; find out exactly what they are; set aside the necessary amount of hours; cut down on whatever’s taking up your time and energy; and you gotta make a commitment to yourself to never quit, no matter what.
“But those aren’t fears LOL!”
On the surface level, it might not seem like it. But what lies beneath each of these examples is a deep-rooted fear of more tasks, responsibilities and esteem from other people — and maybe even from oneself. It’s all based in what I call non-fidence, and non-fidence is a product of fear.
Non-fidence, of course, is the antithesis of confidence. And confidence is the antithesis of fear.