Friday, 21 February 2014

The Fear of Fear

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" Franklin D. Roosevelt.
 
F-E-A-R. Simply four letters that can change my whole personality when I'm up in a plane with Mr Turbulence. And let me tell you now without shame. When F-E-A-R presented it's warped self, my vocals came into being and filled the plane, for all to hear. I screamed. Yes, I screamed like a new born baby birthed from the womb, then smacked. Well, I wasn't going down in silence.
 
Fear, in the fight or flight response is a mechanism that enables you to escape/hide or fight when confronted with a dangerous situation. But this same fear becomes unproductive when you're in a situation where there is no danger and yet it paralyses you. How many people have endured severe pain far longer than necessary with a bad tooth, causing themselves undue suffering, all because they're afraid of going to the dentist.

Many people have blighted their own career path because they feared to take the unknown road to something greater. Some bloggers are afraid to write books because they fear nobody would want to read it. There are those brilliant minds who study hard and late into the night, to prepare themselves for the big test. But on the day, fear attacks their mind distracting them from the anwers. It is only when they calm down afterwards, that the answers come flooding back.... too late. Through fear would-be whistle-blowers fail to speak up and are shamed into silence. Fear can also cause you to procrastinate for no real reason.
 
And to drive the point home, how many times looking back have you noticed that the fear was far worse than what you was actually afraid of? How many times did you feel like a right idiot because nothing actually happened? I had the whole plane laughing at me because I made such a fuss, only for it to land unscathed. I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me! 

       
  • What are you most afraid of?
  • When are the times you have been most afraid?
  • How do you overcome your fears?
 
I'd love to hear your comments, views and opinions.

64 comments:

  1. My biggest fear has to be something happening to one of my loved ones, particularly one of my children. The times I've been most scared are when they've been in danger. But I have to keep things in perspective. There is only so much I can do to control their environment. When they get older, I won't be able to control it at all. Scary thought!

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    1. That's so true Janene. So many parents must worry when their children are out playing or clubbing but it's out of their control and you can't be there with them 24/7. All you can do is hope and pray they return safely and advise them what to do should they encounter a dangerous situation.
      Thanks for the comment Janene.

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  2. There's a sometimes difficult to define line between healthy and unhealthy fear.

    For those irrational fears, or overwhelming fears there is help.

    I've seen fear literally take over a life. My biggest fear is that offered help will never be taken advantage of.

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    1. Yes, there are some people who refuse to live a full life because they fear that anything and/or everything bad/negative will happen to them. What a way to live.
      Thanks Karen.

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  3. I'm facing my worse fear now. Loneliness. When me and my girl broke up, I knew I was going to be facing a lot of lone time. I have family but family has their life as well. At the start, in 2012, I felt depressed. I would go to work, and that was that. Allison and I would hang out from time to time but as time went on, our time together begin to dwindle. It was scary but the time alone lead me to asking: Who am I? I spent all of my 20's dating, partying, working, school, hanging with friends...I was always with somebody and now that I look back at it, it was fun but it was also white noise. I couldn't hear myself think. After 2012 passed, 2013 came along and I started figuring things out by myself. I started focusing or investing my time in something else that could set me up for a greater purpose in life. As of today, my circle of friends is starting to pick up again, not as many as last time but on this go around, the people placed in my life are different. This time, everyone who is in my life I feel is set up to greater things. I feel old friends may come back around, but not now, as they needed to hear the silence as well. It seems like a dark period and it kind of was but in the darkness is when you really find the light. So now that I'm facing my fear and just about doing that, I realized it's not that bad. I think fear is something else that helps evolve us or it conquers us. I would say more but this is already a LONG response...

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    1. Sometimes we tend to fear the worse but as we go through it, we realise that it's not that bad after all. All the stress we caused ourselves wasn't worth it.

      If you've constantly been around people a lot, you might find yourself feeling lonely when you first begin to spend time alone but always remember that you can still be lonely even if you're in a relationship. Quite a few married people have said they have been lonely at certain times within the marriage.

      I'm glad that you found yourself during those dark times, it's important to know who you are and what you want out of life instead of just following the crowd. And hang on to those friends who lift you up and encourage you.

      Thanks for the comment L.A Green, I don't mind long comments from anyone because they always deal with the post and sometimes things need to be explained.

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  4. Fear is new to me. I sometimes did foolish things because I figured it was better to try then not take the chance. But now, that curtain of fear has come down upon me and and it had seemed to grow more and more. Maybe it is nature telling me it is time to stay within the lines because it is safer and I am no longer able to handle the consequences. I am no longer planning on skydiving.

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    1. Nature does have a way of letting you know something is not safe BUT I usually get that call after the event, when I've almost broken my back in the process.

      Please think again about skydiving. It's a great opportunity to do something special and different in your life. Think hard because you don't want to have any regrets later if you're unable to do it then.

      Kick FEAR out the door and tell it to never come back.
      Good to hear from you.

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  5. I have stammered (stuttered) all my life. The fear is looking silly. Ironically the fear often replaces the original cause of the stammer as the new cause. The answer? Do what you fear most. Know that you are OK, regardless.

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    1. That's one of the best ways to conquer that fear Robert. Just brace yourself and get on with it, believing all will be well. Don't allow the stammering or people's reactions stop you doing what you want to do in life.
      Thanks Robert.

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  6. I'm still discovering my fears.
    I mean, of course I have some, for example I hate insects and I'm getting mad when I see a spider. But this fear is so... simple...
    I'm not afraid to change my life. I did it more than anybody of those that I know.
    I'm not afraid of planes, even after a few unbelievable turbulences when I really thought we were about to crash (3 times in my life it was absolutely insane when the passengers were screaming, crying and praying). But anyway I forget about this and always look forward to hear "Welcome aboard" again.
    I'm not afraid of extreme sport. I try everything I see, I even did parachuting.

    I think I'm afraid to die, but it's a basic fear that everybody has, I guess. I have so many plans for my future life and I wanna make them true before I go )))

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    1. It seems that you're afraid of the tiny things Just Me. I'm not too keen on spiders either. I still don't have the balls to pick them up and chuck them out the window. They usually end up under my shoe.

      I'd love to try parachuting one day, but it involves a plane :(
      Thanks for commenting.

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  7. Fear is of course, as you suggest here, more often than not totally irrational. Our own fear of flying [although we have periodically taken relatively short flights] has been largely overcome when we decided, on impulse, to travel with our Mad Boy to his home in South America - the first time outside of Europe. For reasons which cannot be explained, as soon as we boarded the aircraft [does size actually matter? - it was huge] all fear departed and we totally engaged, if that can be the correct word, with all that was going on. And now we are booked to go again in December/January of this year!!
    Thank you so much for leaving a comment on our latest post to which we have made reply. We have now signed ourselves with you as Followers and look forward to more.

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    1. You've been cured mate. I agree that size does matter. It's a completely different feel when you're squashed into a long tube like sardines, queuing for hours to use the loo, feeling every tiny bump along the way not to mention the person sitting on either side of you. Big really is better, I say.

      So glad you've decided to visit South America again too. I hope you have a wonderful time and brilliant trip in December.

      I thought something bad (fearful) may have happened as you weren't around for a long time, but all was well and in fact, you were both having a grand time around the globe.

      Thank you so much for becoming a follower. Hope I can keep you interested though.

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  8. It is not always easy to differentiate between good fear and bad fear... I think as long as you don't allow the fear to paralyze you than it can never control you. I also believe fear can be a motivator, as when you feel it, if you are in tune ... you will be able to act.

    One of my biggest fears was fear of heights, I could not even stand on a stool without feeling like I would fall, for years I just didn't deal with it, I had other people do the things that I needed done because of the fear. In the past 10 years I pushed myself more and more to overcome it... when I started walking this summer I walked over the bridge a few times, was it scary yes but I did it... this summer I am going zip lining. As I get older I want to live with openness and less fear..

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    1. Launna, you are really making some successful changes in your life and I admire your courage in walking over the bridge. It sounds very easy but when you fear something, it's extremely hard to deal with it.

      Is zip lining when you hang off a sloping rope with legs dangling to the bottom and you go down real fast? Not sure how else to explain what I mean. If so, you're a brave woman because it's got height and speed. Well done for trying to conquer your fears.

      Keep it up Launna and thanks for commenting.

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  9. Heights. Though it is not so much the fear of the height, it is the quick trip to the ground I worry about, along with the sudden stop at the end.

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    1. It's amazing how fast you can fall to the ground from a tall building. And I've always found it odd how a woman went skydiving and her parachute didn't open up and she fell from the plane, straight to the ground and lived to tell the tale. I watched a program about his recently. How on earth did that happen?
      Thanks for the comment Jamie.

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  10. It dovetails into my blog on the exorcist eh?
    I think anxiety more than fear stops us doing things...fear paralyses....anxiety constantly questions

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    1. Yes, questions, questions and more questions. Anxiety has been an acquaintance of mine for a flaming long time. Too long in fact. It visits quite often and can stir my insides for hours.
      Not the exorcist, please. You know I'm not going to sleep at all tonight? Hope you've got a spare room mate.

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  11. I am afraid of (some) peoples' narrow-mindedness.

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    1. So am I Julia. Thanks for the comment and I do hope that you have managed to deal with the person who's messing with your kindness.

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  12. I've always been afraid of being the center of attention. In school I sat at the back of class, never raising my hand to ask a question. I felt somehow very different from the other students. Making friends was very difficult. I just could not relax and feel at ease.
    After college it was not as bad but the feeling of being an outsider was still there. Now I'm getting to the point where I just don't care as much about what others think of me. I need people but I also need to be alone.
    I'm grateful to have my wife, daughter and in-laws. The few friendships from the past have drifted away.
    I'll have to work on making some acquaintances. Maybe some may become friends.
    Blogging is now my main way to socialize.

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    1. John, there's nothing wrong with being comfortable in your own company, as I've often said myself in the past and the fact that you have a wife shows that you're not entirely reclusive. This kind of shows that you don't need to be the center of attention to have a fulfilling life.
      Thanks for the comment mate.

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  13. I have a fear of heights, the whole sweaty, racing heart kind of fear. I don't think I could ever do a parachute jump but I did feel a great sense of achievement when I was (with much encouragement) able to face my fear and walk across a glass bridge. It was good to face the fear on that occasion. I have been on a flight with turbulence - not fun I agree with you!

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    1. Yikes, a glass bridge? I bet you felt awesome after you crossed it. And maybe one day you will do a parachute jump. You never know Suzanne.
      Thanks for stopping by mate.

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  14. Because my twin sons both have cystic fibrosis, which is still considered a terminal disease, my biggest fear would probably be outliving my children. But, that fear certainly doesn't dominate my life, and I don't spend any time dwelling on it. I don't have any control over what might happen down the road, so I pretty much stick to living in the present moment. In doing so, I'm able to live without regrets, anxiety, or fear. I think people let their fears get the best of them, even though nothing's actually happening at all. Reminds me of an old Monty Python skit about a paranoid detective who consistently found no clues to support his suspicions. (I tried to find a youtube video of that sketch but couldn't! If you're a Monty Python fan, you've probably heard the sketch..."there, in the bushes, he found NO head in a bag." LOL).

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    1. You're right to be afraid Helena, nobody wants to outlive their own children but the ability to keep that fear in check is something not everyone has. I wonder if it's will-power, discipline or if you have mastered some technique, for example meditation. It's also great that you twin sons are also enjoying every day of their lives and making the most of it too.

      I must try to find that sketch too and thanks for commenting Helena.

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  15. My good friend,

    I shall keep my reply short. Fear is what keeps us in an uncomfortable, comfort zone. To challenge fear can seem too much. Yet, if we try to move on from the debilitating fear, we can see a whole new world of opportunities opening up.

    You've heard of fear of failure. I have the fear of success.

    I wish to thank you for such a thoughtful comment on my latest posting. It means a great deal.

    Gary

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    1. An uncomfortable comfort zone is a fantastic depiction of the human condition. We may not like the way we are but the contortions we may have to go through to become something that we would be more comfortable being, may not be worth it, a pyrrhic victory.

      I'm always happy to comment on your blog Gary, you've brought so much encouragement to so many people and you don't know how many lives you have saved and changed. You do have a good heart and I like people like that. Stay strong and I'll be back to visit again soon.
      Thanks for stopping by mate.

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  16. People create fears through their imagination-worrying about things that might or could happen. I'm not prone to that kind of thinking. I just do what I feel like doing and let whatever happens happen.

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    1. If only I could be like that NP, I'd have a lot more hair on my head. Always appreciate your comment mate.

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  17. I'm more afraid of things now then when I was younger. I never worried about walking alone late at night, or skiing down treacherous slopes, until I was over thirty. I was very lucky that I didn't get hurt in both instances. Maybe your doctor can prescribe something before you go on your next flight. My aunt took a hypnosis class to get over her fear of sailing, and cruises are her favorite way to travel now. That might be another option worth exploring.

    Julie

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    1. Actually I did start to think about cruises but then my mind wondered about what to do if the ship got stuck in the middle of the sea, and began to slowly sink. Guess what? My swimming skills aren't up to it. So I knocked that one on the head too. But, I'm quite happy with your idea of taking a prescribed drug to calm me down. Thanks Julie.

      I think there is a bit of a worry as you get older because age brings a growing awareness of your mortality and vulnerability. At least that's my experience. Thanks for the comment.

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  18. I have many: fear of being out of control, fear of losing my mind, fear of large crowds, fear of confined spaces, of vomiting, food poisoning etc, etc. When I was small and going on a trip to the zoo my nan said ' don't put your finger in the cage' when I asked why she said' in case it gets bitten off!'. I think a lot of my fears stem from being over protected as a child.

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    1. Where our fears come from is a whole other area Simone, and something to explore. From your experience it seems that trying too hard to keep a child safe can make them feel endangered in later life!
      Thanks for stopping by to leave a comment.

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  19. Family health, my health, when climbing, retiring...

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    1. I guess concern is justified when it comes to something as important as health. The trick is not to let the fear take control and spoil the enjoyment of what you have, while you still have it.
      Thanks for commenting Shelley.

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  20. I have lived in fear of something---anything--most of my life. I'm always running from it. How I have survived on this planet all these years with the number of fears and phobias I have, I don't know. I just have to laugh at them. Humor is the one constant in my life that gets me through, day by day.

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    1. Yes, laughter is a strong ally against fear! Your humor also gets me through some tough days too. Always good to have a friend who can put a smile on your face at the worse possible moments.
      Thanks MM :)

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  21. dear RPD,
    I can say the event most terrible to me it was the earthquake.
    I do remember when I was a child we had a big one here in Italy in my area... for months I did not sleep in the night, and was fixing all the time the lamp on the roof to see it was moving... it was just a nightmare..

    flights: no problem at all :-) fortunately....
    but today the most scaring point is safety... our cities are not safe as in the past... too many illegal people here... a real problem.

    by the way: the cake you remember can be called "chiacchere" or even "galani".. and together with the "fritelle" are the carnival cakes... really delicious. last sunday it was an amazing day, with a fantastic wheather, and Venise is.... wow, I have been there plenty of times (it is at 35 km from home)... but it is always like the first time !
    ciao

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    1. Another example of how our childhood experiences can remain with us for the rest of our lives. A truly horrifying experience! Was it the big Friuli one in the 70s?

      Thanks for the help with the food name. I looked up other names for Galani, and came up with Crostoli which is what I knew them by! Obviously when I was using chiacchiere, I just got lots of stuff about gossip ha ha!

      Venice to me is like a film set, it just doesn't look real but it's so beautiful Massimo.

      Always good to hear from you.

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  22. Psychologists sustain the idea that there is no worst paralysing agent than fear.

    I have not qualifications to argue about that subject, my only possibility is to talk from experience.

    Fear is a kind of double agent, if it is true it can stop the process of sound reasoning, also, it is the source of a way to protect our integrity, as much the physical as the psychic integrity.

    Under the umbrella of this thoughts I learned to take fear seriously examined when it is not controlling our actions, trying to find a way to take advantage of its good drive, and stopping the noxious one.

    So much for the facing of fear from a living stand-point.

    About your questions:

    1) What are you most afraid of?

    After being under the pressure of many possible personal dissolution, I guess that I fear the naked one. That fear that coming from deep inside our own self, does not show its source clearly, and stays hiding reality under a frightful mask. It is as a bleeding wound, it would not obliterate you by itself, but it is a door for oblivion to reach you, in the disguise of insanity or even as death.

    2) When are the times you have been most afraid?

    If you look closely to this question, you will agree it has no answer. How can you say when you were under the dominion of fear if that feeling erase all other conscious understanding of reality?

    3) How do you overcome your fear?

    You don't!

    If you realize you are going to be afraid, then you have a chance to glide over it and keep it reined, but not overcome. If you are invaded by fear you cannot control yourself anymore until it, fear, subside into nothingness.


    Easy, ain't it? Lots of words to say nothing

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    1. I get what you mean, Od. Perhaps it's all an attempt to rationalise the irrational. Like squaring the circle :-)

      Your words always say or mean something Od, and I thank you for them.

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  23. Good post on fear, Rum-Punch Drunk! I don’t blame you at all for screaming when turbulence hit the plane you were in; I’d have likely done the same thing. Fear is an automatic response, you are so right. I think I’m most afraid of being in very closed spaces, especially dark, closed spaces (I’m rather claustrophobic, so if I were in a plane and it hit turbulence, and the lights went out, I'd be screaming!). Because of that, I don’t like crowded elevators, but if nothing else is available, I will take them. I don’t care for driving through tunnels either, but I will do it if I need to, and overcome any trepidation by turning up the music and singing along! I am also afraid of floods. I’ve never been in one, so this might sound odd, but I’ve had several dreams in my life of being trapped in a flood with no way out. Just in case these dreams are precognitive, I avoid living in flood zones. (Could also be that those dreams are symbolic, nonetheless, they left an impression on me!)

    The times when I have been most afraid? When I was a little girl, I was terrified of my mother, all my siblings were too. When she was in manic mode, she was very physically abusive, and she in that manic mode almost daily for years. Of course, as I grew up, I learned her mental illness was the cause. Another time I was very afraid was when I was assaulted by a man who hit me on the back of the head with a hammer when I was 19. I don’t need to go into details here but the rest of what happened put the man in prison (where he had been before for similar crimes). After that, I was afraid for years that he’d get out and find me again. But I moved away and got past it. I am also afraid of big, hairy spiders! A few years ago, a big, ugly spider jumped on me and I nearly lost it! But if I see big spiders on the wall or floor and I can catch them, I overcome my fear by catching them in a jar and taking them outside. Most of the time in my area, those big spiders are harmless (unless they are black widows, then they will see the end very quickly, no going outside for them!). Fears can be very real and I think we all experience fear, real or imagined, at some point in our life.

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    1. I had a funny feeling reading your comment, JerseyLil. You've really been through the wars in this life, and growing up must have been very hard for you.
      I'm just so glad you survived to tell us about the hammer attack, many people are left for dead and I fully understand the fear you had afterwards. You should really think about writing a book on all your life events. I'm sure it would also help many other people overcome obstacles they have too.


      Since writing this post I've been trapped in a lift 16 floors up and had an absolute panic attack with hyperventilation and shaking included. That small metal box with a dim light had me in a spin. As for the spiders, I'm not running a hotel, so they are not welcome.

      Thanks again for sharing your experiences here. Get that book sorted quick :)

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    2. RPD, being trapped in a lift 16 floors up would give me a panic attack too!! Glad you got out of that OK, that’s awful. I have had a varied assortment of life experiences, good and bad. Sometimes I don’t even think about how many experience I’ve had until I start writing about them in comments like this one. Maybe I will put them in a book one day. Thanks! :)

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  24. True there's so many things we avoid doing because of fear.

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    1. Yes. Have you ever felt you lost out on something because you were too fearful to try?

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  25. Lately, I have been facing my fears by changing my self talk about it. I imagine I am providing myself with an opportunity to live my greatness by embracing my fears. Often it has helped me realize I am in control of how I react to my life circumstances.

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    1. It's like Od Liam said, fear and reason can't exist in our minds at the same time. One has to drive out the other and I guess self-talk can be a weapon in this war.
      Thanks for reading and taking the time to leave a comment Kevin.

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  26. The way I overcome unrewarding fear is with the other kind of fear - useful fear. For instance, I fear writing my book and it being a failure. But what I'm more afraid of than that is never knowing how awesome it all could have been. That is way more scary than a little failure.

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    1. That's right, I like the idea of flipping fear and making it more useful than damaging. Now, I hope you've started that book mate. Let me know the details when it's done.

      And a warm welcome to you and hope to hear from you again.

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  27. There is not much I fear anymore at this point in my life other than losing my parents. I can handle flying, public speaking, maybe even failing at something I take on, but losing loved ones is a certain type of fear. You think they will always be there but as we all go on in years you realize life doesn't last forever.

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    1. When you're young you don't really think about death like you do when you're older. And it's one thing knowing that your parents will normally die before you one day, but it's an entirely different fear watching your children grow up hoping that they don't see death before you, if you know what I mean.
      Good to hear from you Phil.

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  28. At this point, nothing comes to mind in my life that has me preoccupied with fear. Because I am a Christian and faith is the heart of Christian living, I spend lots of time building myself up in faith so most of the time I am at peace with the things I have to deal with. Still, we all know fear to some degree. It serves a positive purpose when it is a healthy fear.

    Like you, I have had a couple of bad flights due to bad turbulence. That does get your heart beating a bit faster. To me that's to be expected in those instances. I think my next challenge with be the decline of my mother's health. She is experiencing early signs of memory loss. That will be a new day for me and us in dealing with her. But I expect that my faith in God will make a substantial difference in my mindset toward this coming challenge.

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    1. Looking after a loved one who is experiencing any type of illness can be very challenging indeed, especially when you remember all the good times they had when they were fit and healthy. Physically it may be hard but because of your faith, I do believe that God will give you the strength mentally to deal with whatever comes your way. My prayers are with you Frank and thanks for commenting.

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  29. I think our minds control so much of what we fear, for example as a child I remember volunteering to have a snack (a big fat one) placed around my neck at a local zoo, but now as an adult there is something about snakes that just freaks me out and scares me! I know I've 'thought myself into this fear' but that still doesn't change the fact if I was to see a snake out in the wild I would be so so so scared and run a mile, even if it was a small harmless one!

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    1. Our state of mind at the time can have a lot to do with what we fear. Like you, I'm not a snake fan, but I would not hesitate to run a few fast miles if I saw one in the wild. That means, I'm trespassing on their territory and I have a funny feeling that they will want me OUT, ha ha ha.
      Nice to meet you Hayley.

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  30. The new me fears nothing - except scorpions! The scare the living daylights out of me.

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    1. Go Girl. You really have got a new lease of life now. I'll be popping over to you soon too. Had a lot to deal with in the past couple of weeks.
      Glad you stopped by Lanthie.

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  31. fear, what a sharp topic! though i give people an impression of extreme braveness, i have many fears (ha ha). the first would be worms. and snakes. i am getting better but sometime before, if i encounter either of them, i would cream and flee away like a maniac. i also have fear to display myself in front of people. self consciousness is the cause. public speaking is always problematic, despite i was a college teacher for years! but i suppose these are all problems that can be overcome.

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    1. Yes Yun Yi, public speaking is a common fear and one that a surprising number of people such as teachers and lecturers suffer from. It's as though within the professional role of delivering information they can hide behind their role, whereas if they have to make a speech at a wedding or special occasion they go into a panic! Aren't we all strange!

      Sorry for the delay in responding.

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  32. OMG! boy……can I identify with this post. My biggest fear….well fears, are 1. flying, I too screamed on the airplane, not long ago actually, a few months ago. Poor passengers on the plane, I frightened them more with my screams than the turbulence did. Me and planes, a big no no. 2. Tractor Trailers on the interstate, yes….don't even ask me how I do it when I'm in a car, just feel sorry for the driver. 3. Leaving my developmentally challenged adult son alone in this world without a mother, a sole caretaker. Thinking of these things riddle me with anxiety. But, I must say the one which has caused me the most fear as of recent has been flying. How do I overcome them? Well, I just move forward and through the fear as quickly as I possibly can by sharing them with close friends or family, because I feel keeping them bottled up gives the fear more power. When I'm in the moment of fear, I try my best to shift focus to something positive, engage in health activity, get busy, and think of good things. It can be a job at times and energy depleting but for the most part I have been getting better at not letting the fears get the best of me. Accept when I'm up in the air….up there I have NOOOO Control, lol sucks, luckily I don't fly often. Thanks for a great topic!

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