Fears also teach us to be courageous
п»їA Chinese proverb says that he who fears to suffer, already suffers fear. Fears are those spaces in our psychological architecture where a large part of who we are converge.
Fear safeguards us from dangers, mediates many of our behaviors and is often the substratum from which we decide to detach ourselves one fine day in order to learn to be brave.
It is no truism to say that no one likes to feel this emotion. Yet, few emotional and psychobiological processes are so decisive. Fear acts as that survival mechanism that has allowed us to advance as a species. It is like a warning system that is activated at every turn, to protect us from something, without discriminating whether that "something" is real or imaginary.
There are rational fears and irrational fears. There are fears originated by traumatic experiences of the past and phobias of which we do not always know the origin.
This emotion, in spite of being natural, necessary and common to any living being, is often a bad traveling companion. It is so because it has the singular faculty of making us see things worse than they are, of blurring and filling our quality of life with darkness.
If life were a journey, we could say that fear will always be our co-pilot. We cannot get rid of it; it is impossible to convince it to get off and lose sight of it forever. The real courage lies in knowing how to handle it and prevent it from taking the wheel, from taking control of our reality.
"Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision.
Our only option is to be brave, today, tomorrow and alwaysWould that appeasing our fears were as easy as making a wish or exclaiming aloud a self-affirmation: "from now on I choose to be brave". However, the formula of magical thinking does not work, especially with this type of paralyzing and overwhelming emotion.
Fear also has a great impact on the mind and body, it accelerates the heart, causes the hands to sweat and thoughts run over.
There is also a factor that should not be overlooked. When this emotional reality settles in our lives, our physical and psychological health suffers.
It is common for our fears to intermingle with stress. It is that light mist that accompanies us day after day, filling everything we do with grayness. There is fear of not reaching our goals, fear of disappointing certain people, anxiety about what may or may not happen tomorrow; there is the murmur of uncertainty inflaming worry....
If this state of mind is maintained for weeks, months or years, it often leads to an anxiety disorder. All this also shows us something obvious: we do not need to be in danger to feel fear. We do not need to be in a threatening situation to experience fear.
The most common fear emanates from a mind that constructs its own fears based on the complexity of the surrounding context.
In other words, life is so complicated that it is inevitable not to feel anguish.
We can be courageous despite our fearsCourage is not the absence of fear. Being courageous actually implies allowing ourselves to move forward in spite of our fears, walking alongside them and disempowering them. Something like this requires a firm involvement with ourselves by working on the following aspects:
Challenging irrational or unhelpful thoughts. We cannot forget that fears are basically fed by those limiting, irrational and negative ideas in which the mind repeats things like "I can't handle this" or "everything is going to go wrong".
This type of ideas must be deactivated through confrontation. To do so, there is nothing better than asking ourselves questions. If "I can't do this," shouldn't I try something else that will work? When I say "it's all going to go wrong," on what basis? Do I have evidence that something so catastrophic is really going to happen?
Being courageous is not an optionOne of the most prominent psychologists on personal growth was undoubtedly Abraham Maslow. With his humanistic approach, he gave psychology a more optimistic perspective on the human being. One that reminds us that the ultimate goal of people is to achieve self-realization and wisdom.
In one of his investigations, Maslow established fears and these emotional drives in the first step of his pyramid of human needs. It is something we must face and overcome in order to move forward. Being courageous is not an option, it is an obligation if we want to feel free, fulfilled, ready to help and inspire others.
Courage is practice and perseveranceOne cannot be courageous every day. There are times when one's strength, desire and abilities fail. Even more so when something suddenly comes up for which we were not prepared. However, we must keep in mind that courage is like a muscle, like running a marathon or lifting weights; it must be exercised with practice, perseverance and an adequate mental focus.
Because courageous is not really someone who performs great processes. We do not need to be heroes to wear the mantle of courage. In fact, each of us demonstrates remarkable courage when we manage, for example, to accept our emotions and choose not to give power to fear or catastrophic thinking.
We are courageous when we get up every day in the morning even when we don't feel like it. And we are brave when we choose not to give up in order to continue to nurture hope and illusion. Let's think about it.
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