a little east of reality

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

be very afraid

Victoria was exploring the idea of fear and it set me thinking. I know that fear is not always a bad thing ~ sometimes it's appropriate ~ but I was trying to work out when that is and isn't the case.

My take on fear is that good fear prompts you to action. If the house is on fire and I'm scared to be burned, I will hightail it out of that house quick smart - good fear. Bad fears for me are the ones that stop us from taking action, paralyse us - fear of making a mistake, fear of looking stupid in front of other people, fear of rejection, fear of the unknown. A friend once suggested to me that most procrastination is born of fear ~ particularly fear of failure. Actually I don't wholly agree with that. I think some procrastination is born of tiredness and some simply of laziness, but I think it's true that sometimes we put things off because we are afraid we will fail in the attempt.

When we are young, the unknown is so fascinating to us that our parents are constantly running to stop us doing some crazy thing like reaching for a hot cup of coffee or sticking a fork into a power point. Sure, there's risk in being so unafraid, but look what comes of it ~ we grow and develop at a rate much faster than we ever do as an adult. We need to learn fear to survive to adulthood, but then I think we often use that fear to close a tight little comfort zone around ourselves and live a safe, and uneventful, life.

So once you realise that you're being paralysed by fear, how do you deal with it? Facing your fears is a nice idea, but how do you actually go about it? Any ideas?