Fear is a powerful emotion. According to folk lore, fear can change your hair from black to pure white in a flash and it can freeze you, as in ‘frozen with fear’. Here’s the thing; Fear is a very useful emotion. It keeps us on the lookout for danger in our environment and it (sometimes) stops us from making rash choices that could harm us. But, unchecked, Fear can do severe damage to us, both psychologically and physically.
The world has had more than its share of Fear. Every news broadcast features up to the minute “breaking news” about Covid 19, political difficulties and natural disasters. Fear has a megaphone. The more we listen to it, potentially the more fearful we become.
When that happens, we really can become ‘frozen with fear.” It becomes more difficult to sort out real, immediate events requiring immediate action from those events that might or might not occur in the future. It keeps us from taking actions that could alleviate fear.
Constant fear takes a toll on empathy. We become so overwhelmed that we lose sight of the humanity of those around us. In a real sense, we become less human.
Dispensing with all fear would be a mistake. It is a powerful motivator. General Omar Bradley, U.S. Army WW II wrote, “Bravery is the capacity to perform properly even when scared half to death.”
We don’t need complete absence of fear, we just need to recognize and direct it.
My favorite quote about bravery and fear comes from Vishnu Verm, a writer, in a September 30, 2014 post, “The Best 26 Quotes About Being Brave.”
“Be Brave. Even if you’re not. Pretend to be. No one can tell the difference.