Image by D Sharon Pruitt

Let’s face it, most of us are walking around scared. We’re on edge. Frightened of our own reflections, shadows and the big “what if’s”!

We are scared of failure, of success, of negative opinions, of falling, of dying, of financial ruin, of loserhood. We fear conflict and disease and severed limbs and differing opinions. We fear the unknown and authority and disappointment and growing old, dying alone.

Basically, we just want to fit in. Look at fashion and fads and film. The dreaded ‘f’ words that keep us part of the pack. As we blend into the crowd, our fear disappears as we feel we belong. No longer do we stand out! No one stares at us anymore. Rather, we get hair cut ideas from films and the fashionistas, just like everyone else.

There is something deeply satisfying about kinda being fashionable. By maintaining a balance of your own style and the current fads, you start to feel on top of things. Like you’re not too much of a fashion sycophant and not too much of a frump.

And then there’s the old question, “What do people think of me?”. What are they saying behind your back in the dark shadows in barely audible whispers? People are great at playing the ‘nice’ role while thinking judgmental thoughts. It makes us a little paranoid. My current philosophy is that I simply assume that everyone likes me and if they don’t (as I tell my daughter when she says she has no friends), “They miss out!” Ta da! Genius.

Image by Douglas S. Smith

Fear can motivate you to do insane things (jumping out of planes in reaction to a fear of death!?) or curl up in a little ball in a darkened room and hide, hoping for the best. Or it drives you to push through the anxiety and do it afraid. I often mix up fear with a dash of denial and blend it until smooth with a pinch of Endorphin.

So to fear, my dear old friend. The time has come for you to go and do something useful somewhere else. Go, go, my friend and save people in peril. With your gift of fight / flight, be gone and save lives. Instead of inventing new things for people to fear, perhaps it is time to leave the fictitious world to the novelists.