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What Is Fear?

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Our body allows us to feel fear to protect ourselves. But what is fear? A real fear would be something that involves a life and death situation but if that’s the case, why do we fear so many other things?

Most times, the things we fear are very distant from anything life or death. In fact, the things we fear don’t always even eventuate or even if they do, they don’t present as drastically as our mind had tricked us into thinking. I often think about how much time people spend (and I have too) fearful and at times paralysed by fear. It is an emotion and a protective one that truly can render us almost useless. The emotional power associated with fear causes us to react and respond in ways that are so foreign to us that we don’t even really know ourselves.

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It pains me to think of all the lives that really do live in fear – real fear for their lives. My prayer is that God would comfort them and be the Prince of Peace in those horrible moments of darkness and angst. I’ve come to realise what fear is and when you break it down and recognise it you’re able to, for the most part, take the power away from the emotion. Now, when I’m speaking about this I’m certainly not referring to that real life and death fear. That is something different. But, for the purpose of this article I want to try and break it down for you as I have for myself and through this, I have found the incredible strength to name things and to carry on and move fear to the side.

Fear is this: False Expectation Appearing Real. For the most part, it’s a mind game. Our body tells us to fear and the barriers go up, our protective walls come crashing down and we hold our breath. We allow fear to take over and we aren’t really sure what we are fearing so we make up the outcomes, we go down a path of varied end results and fear builds and builds within us. As you consider this, think about all of our sweet little children and what they are trying to process and how fear can cause havoc within their little hearts and minds. Talking, debriefing and role-playing are great ways to help them process this emotion and understanding the False Expectations Appearing Real for ourselves certainly makes a difference.

What does this mean and look like practically? What is it that you are fearing? Name it, speak it out and then begin to unpack it. As an example, perhaps you have an upcoming medical exam and you have some concerns. Before the appointment, our mind goes down varied outcomes thinking what it could be. We might even jump on google and do a search, looking up symptoms, etc., all of which adds to and compounds our fear. Then, we go to the appointment, have some tests and have to wait for the results and our mind wanders even further all spiralling into a vortex of anxiety and fear. This happens because we feel threatened and scared. Unsure of the end and so we bring the walls of fear down to serve as a protector.

Now, imagine taking the power out of it by acknowledging and speaking out the things you are concerned about. The things that, because of where your head has gone, have begun to appear real and those things are the false expectations. They aren’t real and when you speak it out and pull the layers back you’re then able to put whatever it is you are dealing with or concerned about back together like a lego house. Things begin to make sense, you begin to calm down and you can once again breathe.

Fear can kill, it can rob and at times it can destroy anyone of us. Our mind can be a battlefield at times and it is in our best interest to keep it in check and be mindful of what we are allowing to.

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