If you are at all timid or concerned about life the last few weeks have been a lulu. Ebola? You get to the point where you start looking around at everything from the locker room at the gym to the server bringing you dinner while you are out. Hand shake of peace in church? Well, maybe a little longer. If I am required to get a space suit for everyday living instead I think I will just put on my bathing suit, light up a fat one and enjoy a larger than normal glass of red.
If you are approaching old fartdom the recent stock market plunges will put the fear of God in you. I am not as concerned about how much I have but rather will it last long enough for Kathy and me to sneak quietly out the door?
The shootings in Canada and Washington were really the coup de grace. Lone terrorist? I have suspected my brother Brian of that for 60 years. If you really let it get to you you would be frozen in place and not prone to any activity. It really got me pondering about this whole fear thing.
Psychologists will tell you fear is healthy and is a form of information. Your current situation, this wonderful cocoon we have built for ourselves is threatened in some way. Physically, financially or psychologically our fortress comes under attack. The first thing we do is ascertain if it is real or implied. Am I dreaming this up and overreacting or do I have to take action and fast?
It seems to me that we want to control every aspect of our life…and death. We want to make everything predictable. One of life’s uncertainties is health. We have made incredible strides in the area of medicine. We can fix anything. That is why something like Ebola is so frightening.
We spend millions and billions trying to make our products safer which indeed is a noble cause. We worry about wearing helmets and pads on bikes. We panic about batteries being ingested by infants. We have created air bags on cars and are floored when they could be weapons in their own right. We stop and frisk and pat down at airports. Pull out every last stop.
In a truly ironic twist it makes us more vulnerable. As we strive to squeeze every last threat to anything we have greatly impaired our ability to think for ourselves. We are so dependent on others to safeguard us we don’t know how to fend for ourselves. We have lost the ability to be vulnerable and deal with it.
Our education today is designed to be rewarding of the perfectionist and memorizer. We don’t encourage free thinking but rather coloring inside the lines at all cost. And some of you think the nuns were bad? I have made a ton of mistakes over my lifetime but hopefully I have learned from them and become a better person for them. I could have played it straight and been a lot more secure financially but I sure would have missed a lot of fun. I think my family feels that way too.
We all have phobias of some sort. Spiders? Heights? Failure? Those are all valid parts of the human psyche. Show me someone without fear and I will show you someone who has never taken a chance.There have been multitudes of books written on all types of fears.
Take a mom or dad today. They want to micromanage their kid’s lives down to the last minute detail. We have boys and girls in a bubble. I laugh when I think about my mom. She was always there but in the background. If I was stuck up town I learned how to use my thumb. If I was in a crazy situation somehow I figured it out. I think today you would call it street sense but we all seemed to have it back then. My mother had control but in a wonderful way I never knew it.
There are two ways to get over your fears. First is to have a loved one kiss you and make it all go away. Take that to mean we want someone in finance or government or medicine to say we have this under control. Guess what gang? That ain’t happening. Positions of responsibility have failed miserably over the past few years. Better not look there.
The other is to meet them head on and admit our deficiencies. Grapple with it and at least come to terms with it. Our world is tumbling at warp speed and we will have complexities to deal with at every turn of the wheel. For me I would rather get out in front of a problem than get run over by it.
I am afraid for our country but instead of looking for a bunker I am going to try to attack it full bore and bring it up to you. I am not afraid of terrorism or Ebola because I could just as easily get hit by a car walking down the street. I can’t live my life looking over my shoulder for some rogue gunman. Most of all I am not afraid of speaking out. When I write I am not sure how you will take it but that is not the point. It is an incredible feeling to express my thoughts openly and in some small way say I am doing something. I hope in a sense I am speaking for you. But please, don’t let me freak you out.
Ted The Great
a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined;
Synonyms: foreboding, dismay, dread, terror, fright, panic, horror, trepidation, qualm.
Antonyms: courage, security, calm, intrepidity
Beyond claustrophobia, acrophobia etc there are:
hedonophobia…fear of having fun
prosophobia…fear of progress
Scatophobia…fear of feces
Scriptophobia…writing in public…I don’t have it
Epistemophobia…fear of knowledge
Cenophobia…fear of new things or ideas.
Fear is actually a healthy response to a fight or flight situation and is probably one of man’s(woman’s) oldest and most valuable emotive reactions. It gets your adrenalin going and in a controlled situation can be vital to your survival.
Fear can paralyze you, keep you in desperate situations, and stop you from living the life of your dreams. That should be enough motivation in and of itself to get after it and master it.