The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
– Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1933
The political meaning has become all too obvious, but I’ve recently come to realize a personal implication.
How often do I really feel fear?
Once a week. A month? Maybe even a year?
I rarely feel fear, and I suspect I’m not alone. My average day is comfortable to the point of absurdity. Sometimes the line for a pour-over is really long and an Uber across town is surging at 3x.
The fear of fear is winning.
If you don’t feel fear, and feel it regularly, you’re suffering too. It’s an insidious affliction. It lurks beneath the surface of your mind. You don’t know it’s happening, but like a fly on the wall, you can watch yourself give in, again and again.
“That sounds fun, but work was rough today and I’m pretty tired.”
“Sure, I’ll have one more drink.”
“I’ll just do it later.”
Fear is physically unpleasant. You notice the anxiety in your stomach, the shortness of breath, a twinge of perspiration.
The fear of fear can exist unnoticed for decades. It stays in your subconcious, keeping you safe from that unpleasant experience, and in doing so from venturing beyond your comfort zone, from feeling fear and moving forward anyway. From growing as a person.
Step one is awareness, and step two is action, and there’s only one way to defeat this plague.