Fear. It’s a motivator, and a prohibitor. How is that possible? Fear motivates us to live; most humans are scared of death, and what happens to us afterwards. Our bodies react in a “fight or flight” mode, where we run away from danger, or we try to fight the danger that is presented to us. Physiologically, our bodies do everything they can to prevent us from dying.
Fear is the one reason animals live; they know they are to hunt, or to be hunted. Humans know the same thing; if a wolf knocks on your door, it’s either kill it or be killed. Fear is one thing that keeps us living. Fear is also one thing that prevents us from living.
Country artist George Straight, in his song “Breath You Take”, profoundly said, “Life’s not the breath we take, but the moments that take our breath away.” My husband and I went rock climbing for the first time a couple weeks ago. He was so excited, and letting him down wasn’t on my list of things to do for that day. Instead, I told myself to buck up and try it for his sake.
Heights scare me to death. Heights is one of the things that cause me to shake in nervousness. Every time I climb a tree (more than about five feet up), my legs shake, my arms quiver, and my teeth chatter.
Something amazing happened this time though. My husband had hold of the rope to catch me. Of course my arm hair stood up with chills, but I reached the top. Several times. Instead of letting fear motivate me, I allowed something new to motivate me.
Now, of course I realize that in many instances there might not be someone there to catch you. I realize that your spouse might have already jumped out of the plane, and is trusting you to follow him. Many people don’t like getting out of their comfort zone, or having an adrenaline rush. I am one of those people. Parasailing is not my thing. Dirt biking is not my thing.
There are other things I’m scared of. Change: moving, changing schools, changing majors, starting a family, even something like trying a new meal. What if I don’t like it? It’s too late to change your mind, to chicken out, or to choose a different path. Or a different meal.
There are other things to be scared of. Spiders, drowning, bungee jumping, first day of school, and so on.
Here’s my question. If a child is scared of drowning, does he still need to bath? Yes. Of course. If a child is scared to get on the bus the first day of school, does he still need to go? Yes. If you want to bungee jump, but you’re scared of heights, should you?
I recommend yes. Not for adrenaline purposes. But for the experience.
High school is a great experience, even if you hate it.
Having a garden is great even if you hate worms.
Having a family dog is great even if you’re afraid you have to be the one to take care of him.
Starting a family is wonderful, even if you’re afraid of the change it will have in your life.
Instead of having fear command our lives, what if we found something else? Courage, love, excitement?
I went rock climbing, even though I was scared, because I love my husband. I went because I wanted to conquer my fear. I went because I was somewhat excited to try this.
What if everyone lived the same way? The fear is there to prevent you from doing something stupid. Granted, some things are stupid, and could end up in injury and death. Playing chicken with cars is stupid.
We aren’t here on earth to survive. We are all mortal. Death is inevitable. We are here to live. Why do we let fear control our lives? Fear is a negative emotion. What if we let happiness, passion, desire, and devotion dictate what we do in life? Whether or not we get on that roller coaster, or whether or not we give that career a chance, gives us the opportunity to experience life.
Don’t let your faint-heartedness get the best of you and of what you want to do. That’s not living; that’s surviving.
Don’t survive. Live.