What Is There To Fear? . . .

Fear is that little darkroom where negatives are developed.” ~Michael Pritchard

What scares you? What do you fear the most? Clowns? Water? Dentist? Heights? Storms? Snakes? the Dark? Loud noises? Small places? Spiders? Public speaking? Crowds? Flying?
Or are your fears less physical and more internal and emotional? … fear of the unknown? fear of loss? fear of intimacy? fear of failure? fear of being alone? fear of success? the fear of change?

Halloween is here, so maybe that is why the topic of fear seems to be everywhere I turn. A big contributor to my fear thoughts has been my local public radio station. They just finished their 8 day Fall pledge drive and have filled my daily listening time with the topic of fear. Unlike most station’s fund drives, my radio station makes those days extra special and fun. They always pick an entertaining topic to center the drive around, this time it was “Nothing to be Scared Of”. And, with fun pledge levels (called “eeek”, “Hair raiser” “goosebumps”), call in shows to talk about fears, advice on how to over come fears, random spooky noises, interviews with scary novel writers, live scary critters in the studio (like snakes, spiders and hissing cockroaches), spooky songs and off the wall discussions about things that scare us … how could I not be thinking about fear.

Fear is supposed to be a natural protective reaction to harmful threats, a survival mechanism. However, for most adults our biggest fears have nothing to do with saving our lives .. they have more to do with our anxieties towards life situations. Some fear is naturally built into us, but many of the things we fear we “learned to fear” on our life journey.

I am no expert on fear and I have several fears that I am still trying to work through … my fear knowledge simply comes from being human. Fear is a part of life and as we grow, we either learn to deal with our fears or allow them to slowly kill us. I believe most of us go through cycles of fears. For instance: At times, I am an anxious person. At times, I have been brave and faced my fears improving my life. At times, I have avoided my fear. At times I have allowed my fear to become powerful and control me.

I am very aware of what fear has done me and to people in my life and I have (like now) tried to understand fear. Trying to understand fear is difficult, because when you start looking deeply into it you find it is mostly irrational. Therefore, I don’t have any secret, inspiring answers to offer you about fear. What I have to offer in my post today are my thoughts on some very wise words about fear . . .

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt This quote is probably the most famous fear quote, because it is so very true. The only power fear has over us is the power we give it. It is very hard sometimes to let go of the fear and embrace faith and move on. It is so very important to remember that we are in control of our fears, even if it does not feel like it. “Fear is only as deep as the mind allows” ~ Japanese proverb

To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.  ~ Bertrand Russell The seemingly easy way to deal with our fears is to close our eyes to them and avoid them. When it comes to our physical fears, the tendency is to avoid our fears is probably a great idea .. don’t look down when you are up high, wear a life-preserver out on the water, don’t touch a snake, etc … tackling these types of fear in this way will do us no real harm. However, some things that we fear do us great harm when we try to avoid them (change, loss, success) … avoidance can make our lives worse, it can make the fear grow, it can take over our thoughts and in the extreme, prevent us from living. It is these fears we need to face head on and in the process, we will learn and grow so much.

Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson So often, our fears determine what we are willing and able to see, hear and believe. Given enough fuel, our fears can literally control us. Fear can prevent us from hearing ourselves or anyone else. Fear can be a very negative and powerful force in our lives, but only if we allow it to be. We all fear something, it is a part of who we are. At some point in time, haven’t we all given our fears so much power over us that we allowed it to direct our life in some way? We all have anxiety about situations in life and it is important to acknowledge them and understand them. When we honestly examine our fears, we can see how we have allowed them to shape our life and who we are. “You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith.” ~ Mary Manin Morrissey

Ambrose Redmoon says “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.” I deeply respect people who don’t allow fear to stop them from doing what is truly important in life. It is a scary process, but the fact is that people who can face their fears change their lives for the better. Knowing yourself and being aware of what is important and meaningful to you can help you move past some very tough fears. No one is ever totally free of fear. What matters, is how we deal with our fears.

“The key to change… is to let go of fear.” ~ Rosanne Cash Fear of change has got to be one of the most common fears. Some people fear it because of all the unknowns it holds. Others fear it because life is good and they see change as something that will ruin it. Most of us dislike and are embarrassed by the fact that a fear has prevented us from making a change of some kind. This quote is pretty simplistic for an act that we truly fear, but it also holds the key to positive change and growth.

Fear and anxiety are a part of life that will never go away. When we tackle our fears, we naturally move on to new fears … I think this quote by an unknown author is a good example of that “When I saw you, I was afraid to meet you… When I met you, I was afraid to kiss you… When I kissed you, I was afraid to love you… Now that I love you, I’m afraid to lose you.” Knowing that one fear is replaced by another in life might help us to see how insignificant a particular fear may be.

Allowing fear and anxiety to take the joy out of our lives is a crime. Allowing fear to paralyze us from living is a form of death. Here is hoping we can all find the courage and desire to face our fears and learn to live our lives without our fears controlling us. If you have any great insights into fear or have some successful ways to deal with them … I hope you will share them.

If you are trying to conquer a fear, here are a few websites I found that give advice on how to overcome them: Positivity Blog and What I think About

~ by bearyweather on October 30, 2010.

17 Responses to “What Is There To Fear? . . .”

  1. Great post! I love the quotes and the photos go with the theme so nicely! “Too conquer fear is the beginning of widom.” How true! Happy Halloween!

  2. I have this aspect of myself I refer to as my inner brave girl. When I seem to be caught up in fear I call on her and somehow this little trick propels me to face the fear in a different way. It’s like I become bigger than myself and have more power to face the fear head on. On the other hand, I have found many fears can be loved away. Darkness disappears when you shine a light on it and there is no brighter light than love.

    I really enjoyed the quotes here and how you tied them in to you personal story and advice for all. Well done. 🙂

  3. You have composed your thoughts about fear very well. Frankly, I am one person with a rabbit heart and fear captures me like anything. I’m just too imaginative and sometimes scare myself! truly, overcoming fear is not such an easy task, and I do that by changing my mindset, remembering the fun times, my favorite things, and of course, I converse with god. 🙂

    • Imagination is a great gift and I bet it could be a strong tool for conquering fears, too … similar to what clearly composed mentioned in her comment about calling on her “inner brave girl”.

  4. This is a great post. I particularly liked:

    ‘I believe most of us go through cycles of fears. For instance: At times, I am an anxious person. At times, I have been brave and faced my fears improving my life. At times, I have avoided my fear. At times I have allowed my fear to become powerful and control me.’

    I hadn’t realized that until I read it just now. It’s true. I’ve cycled through bravery, avoidance, and letting the fear take over throughout various times in my life.

    I’ve learned, too, that sometimes no matter how much you face a fear, it doesn’t necessarily go away. I have a driving phobia. Even as a teen I did not want to get my drivers license. I did not want to drive, period, end of story. I won’t go into the long story about failing the behind the wheel test numerous times and finally passing because my dad knew someone at the testing place, but I did eventually get my license and I do drive. I strongly dislike every heart-pounding moment of being behind the wheel of a car. I’ve driven hundreds of thousands of miles and still fear it, yet I still do it. It’s a fear I wish would go away as I know I would get out and about and explore more.

    I’ve always liked the Litany Against Fear from the novel “Dune” by Frank Herbert:

    “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

    But I’m a geek that way. 😀

    • I have had some driving phobias, too. They started after I had an accident. It has been many years, so they do not pop up and haunt me much any more. But, every once in awhile (freeways, crowds, aggressive drivers), they sneak up on me and take my breath away.
      I must be a geek, too … because I love the quote, It is so true .. when a fear takes over, it is like death. That quote is new to me … I might just have to read the book, now.
      Thanks for adding to the conversation

  5. I’m going to put this blog link under my latest Morning Trip (41) and Inside Upside Down and Backward Blog (11). They are very good replies, to others and to myself. Thank you for posting words that I give to others and sometimes cannot see to notice for myself!

  6. First of all, awesome photography! I’ve had many fears through the years and as I’ve faced them have found that most are irrational…still haven’t conquered them all, but am trying. LOVE all these quotes and what you’ve written about them. This is a really great read!

    • I agree, once you face your fears you look back and wonder what was wrong with you. I am not sure it is possible to conquer them all … it seems new ones eventually pop up. Thanks for stopping by, sharing your thoughts and all the wonderful compliments.

  7. You have illustrated fear well in your writing. I don’t agree that fear is a part of life nor must we replace one fear with another. I believe the more connected we become with source, the more we live from spirit the more we let go of fear. No Fear!

    • When we deny that which exists, we run, we fear. Put all on, like a comfy coat! Dance about in it, see everything, sometimes do something, nothing avoided. Fear is my friend!

    • Honestly, I do not know anyone without some fear and/or anxiety. However, I do know many people who feel the fear and live anyway. They never let fear direct their lives or conquer them. I think fear is natural … it is the letting go you speak of, the refusal to let it control us that I believe is the key to living with fear.
      Thanks for sharing your perspective.

  8. Love, love, love the quote with which you began your post! Love it!!!

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