We are capable of great cruelty and great compassion, of forgiveness or vengeful anger, of quiet confidence or paralysing fear. Fear and anger are bullies and like most bullies, they will shove you around until you draw the line and stand up to them.
Your feelings are influenced by your thoughts.
Feeling fearful and angry increases the chance of experiencing negative and anger provoking thoughts. The vicious cycle develops once you get trapped – like a mouse on the treadmill of emotions and thoughts that trigger one another, with ever increasing momentum.
Like anger, fear has many guises. Anxiety is probably its twin brother, with doubt, indecisiveness, superstition, worry, inferiority, cowardice, suspicion, hesitation, despondency, shyness and social restraint as different forms of the same root stock. If it is not contained, it can lead to isolation and loneliness and in some instances to excessive aggression.
Fear in the face of imminent danger can save your life (when a fight or flight response is needed), but prolonged fear can put your emotional and physical health at great risk – resulting in high blood pressure, heart problems and headaches to name but a few ailments.
A study has shown that 60% of our fears are totally unfounded and will never happen; 20% are based on things in the past that were completely beyond our control; 10% are based on irrelevant factors that will not make any difference to our lives. Of the rest only 4 – 5 % can be justified, which means that 95% of your fears are a waste of emotional energy.
However, fear is real and universal and not to be denied. We fear for our safety, our future, our children and most often for our finances. We fear for ourselves, that we will fail, get sick or simply “not make the grade.” We lie awake at night, paralysed by worrying.
Standing up to fear starts with a decision to do so. Admit the emotion and give it a name. Remember, you are not a fearful person, but rather a person living with Fear. See it for what it is – an emotion emerging from the emotional part of your brain. Your rational cerebral cortex can and will provide the reality check and solution to the problem.
The introvert part of your temperament will be naturally inclined to be controlled by fear.
Know that, although you cannot change your circumstances, you can choose how you react to this debilitating emotion.