Integrating fear

​An individual who is not afraid and a person with no fear. When you see them in action, they look the same. They both act with confidence and without hesitation. But although they look the same, they are of a different breed.

No fear is the complete absence of fear. Someone who has no fear feels no inhibitions. To them, risk and uncertainty are irrelevant, non-entities. And they themselves are biological oddities. Fear is an evolutionary mechanism. A survival mechanism. To be completely unburdened by it may be a virtue in some scenarios. But more likely, like someone who cannot feel pain, the inability to feel fear will do damage. 

The individual who is not afraid feels fear. He feels the tingling in his fingertips as he does something new. He feels the uneasiness in his stomach as he confronts his biggest obstacle. He hears the chatter in his head pointing out all the past mistakes, all the risks, all the questions, all the difficulties. He feels and hears all this, but acts anyway.

To be unafraid is to feel fear in all it’s intensity, and consider it as only one of many decision inputs, not the prevailing one. It is to assess the significance and relevance of the fear felt and use it to make a decision or an action better, instead of allowing it to paralyse you. 

The state of no fear would be easier. It would mean we wouldn’t have to expend any energy to overcome it. But fear is a compass without which we can easily sail into dangerous territory. Wishing fear away is like wishing away any other part of the spectrum of human feeling. It is folly. 

All feelings, especially fear, are guides that can show us how to live and why. So do not wish them away. Do not wish to feel no sadness. Instead allow your sadness to show you what you cherish. Do not desire to feel no anger. Instead allow your anger to unmask your insecurities and demonstrate what you are willing to stand against. Do not wish away pain. Let the pain remind you of the sweetness of joy. 

And do not wish to have no fear. Instead, use fear. Embrace it’s presence. Integrate it’s power into your life and decisions. Let it guide you. Let it teach you to be unafraid.