President Franklin Roosevelt famously asserted, The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.
I think was right. That requires some explaining.
Fear has gotten a bad rap among most human beings. And it’s not nearly as complicated as we try to make it. A simple and useful definition of fear is: An anxious feeling, caused by our anticipation of some imagined event or experience.
Medical experts tell us that the anxious feeling we get when we’re afraid is a standard biological reaction. It’s pretty much the same set of body signals, whether we’re afraid of gotten bit my a dog, or getting turned down for a date, or getting our taxes audited.
Fear like other emotions, is basically information. It offers us knowledge and understanding-if we choose to accepted it.
There are 5 basic fears, out of which al almost all of our so-called fears are manufactured. These are:
The fear of annihilation, of creasing to exist. There is a more fundamental way to express it the just fear of death. The idea is no longer being arouses a primary existential anxiety in a,k normal humans. Consider that panicky feeling you get when you look over the edge of a high building.
The fear of losing any part of your previous bodily structure; the thought of having our body’s boundaries invaded, or of losing the integrity of any organ, body part, or natural function.
While others have anxiety about animals, such as bugs, spiders, snakes, and other creepy things that arise from fear of mutilation.
Loss of Autonomy
The fear of being immobilized, paralyzed, restricted, overwhelmed, entrapped, imprisoned, smothered, or otherwise controlled by circumstances beyond our control. In physical form, it commonly known as claustrophobia, but also extends to our social interactions and relationships.
I worked worked with quite a few Soldiers that have lost their limbs. I think how horrible it would be to have your legs or arms blowoff. Along with the pain they go through. I have the most utmost respect of anyone who would sacrifice themselves for their country, and many have been spit on among other things as there payback for protecting there country. As there reward. They sacrifice their lives for people to treat them like shit.
The fear of abandonment, rejection, and loss of connectedness; of becoming a none-person-not wanted, respected or valued by anyone else. The silent treated when imposed by a group can have a devastating effect on it’s target.
As a child when my mother would lock me in the closet for hours at a time. I would be so scared I was never getting out, that she would just forget about me. I felt abandonment, rejected and not wanted.
The fear of humiliation, shame, or any other mechanism of profound self- disapproval that threatens the loss of integrity of the self, the fear of the shattering or disintegration of one’s constructed sense of liability, capability, and worthiness.
Think about the various common sense labels we put on our fears. Fear of heights or falling is basically fear of extinction. Fear of failure is fear of ego-death. Fear of rejection is fear of separation and probably fear of ego-death. The terror many people have at the idea of having to speak in public is basically fear of ego-death. Fear of intimacy or fear of commitment is basically fear of losing one’s autonomy.
Some other emotions we know by various names are just aliases for these 5 primary fears
Fear is often the base emotion on which anger floats. Oppressed people rage against their oppressors because they fear or actually experience- lose of autonomy and even ego-death. The destruction of a culture or a religion by an invading occupier may experience as a kind of collective ego-death. Those who make us fearful will also make up angry.
That strange idea of fearing our fears becomes less stance when we realize that many of our avoidance reactions- turning down an invite to a party if we tend to be uncomfortable in a group; putting off a doctors appointment, or not taking a raise- are instant reflexes that are reactions to the memories of fear. They happen so quickly that we don’t actually experience the full effect of the fear. We experience a micro-fear of the fear- a reaction that’s kind of shorthand code for the real fear. This reflex reaction has the same effect of causing us to evade and avoid real fear. This is why it’s fairly accurate to say that many of our so-called fear reactions are actually the fear of fears.
When we let go of our notion of fear as the welling up of evil forces within us- and begin to see fear and it’s companion emotions as information, we can think about them consciously. And the more clearly we can articulate the origins of the fear, the less our fears will frighten us and control us.