Fear is not my friend
by Rick Watson
Jul 28, 2013 | 1284 views | 0 0 comments | 111 111 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Rick Watson
Rick Watson
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Franklin Roosevelt was an inspirational leader. During the Great Depression, at one of the darkest hours in America’s history, he said, “There’s nothing to fear, but fear itself.”

With the economy in shambles, that was a pretty gutsy thing to say.

His quote got me thinking this week about fear and how it affects us. Fear is one of the most destructive emotions in the universe. It’s worse than anger.

While anger usually subsides after the cause is removed, fear remains inside and grows like a tumor, unless you confront it.

The fear of mice, snakes and spiders seems to be hardcoded into our DNA.

I know for a fact that most non-poisonous snakes are beneficial, and some even kill poisonous snakes.

But if you ask people why the snake crosses the road, many of them will say it’s because he wants to die a horrible skid-marked death. Many feel that ANY snake is capable of eating small children and pets.

While sneaky, crawly creatures top most people’s fear list, there are many other documented types of fear for the more discerning “frady cats.”

People are afraid of everything from Ablutophobia, which is the fear of washing or bathing, to Zelophobia, which is the fear of jealousy, with dozens of phobias in between.

Fear of what other people will think or say is perhaps the most brutal of all.

People told Jilda in the past that they would never come to a yoga class because they’d be afraid that people would look at them.

They’re afraid of looking foolish.

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve looked foolish, I could have retired out of high school.

So where does all this fear come from? Wikipedia defines fear this way:

Fear is an emotion induced by a perceived threat, which causes entities to quickly pull far away from it and usually hide. It is a basic survival mechanism occurring in response to a specific stimulus, such as pain or the threat of danger. 

Children, for the most part, are fearless. They’ll try anything. If they hear music, they will start bobbing their heads, they will start moving their legs and dance a little jig whether they can dance well or not. They couldn’t care less if someone laughs at them.

But somewhere along the way, we learn to fear. There are people who would rather donate a kidney than to look stupid.

I’m not immune to fear either. I consider myself a writer and I’ve been working on some projects for a few years.

I’ve outlined, mind mapped, daydreamed, and sketched out three separate novels. I’ve written about 40 first chapters, but there’s a copper headed rattle moccasin that’s preventing me from finishing my first draft. What could I be afraid of? Failure?

Simply writing these words has been therapeutic, because I’ve actually written down what I could not bring myself to say.

I should have been listening to the words of a song that Jilda and I wrote over twenty years ago.

Keep your feet on the ground as you reach for the sky

It’s no sin to fail until you fail to try

When bad seeds are planted, the harvest is thin

You can’t fly like an eagle on the wings of a wren.

My new mantra is: Fear Is Not My Friend.