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  • Casper Killens

FEAR: Is it Good or Bad?

The short answer is, Yes. It depends is also a possible answer.


Sitting, sipping my coffee, and staring at the screen, I feel a dull ache in my abdomen. I recognize this all too familiar feeling. I sit here worried the words I am writing will fall on my eyes, not ready to receive them. That my thoughts will meet an internet troll prepared to pounce on the ideas relayed. An English teacher from middle school told me I would amount to nothing in life will see and say, "See, I told you so." And yet, I am going to type these thoughts anyway. If there is anything in this that meets you where you are, and you can glean anything from it, I am thankful. I am grateful for the opportunity to share some thoughts here, even if no one sees this aside from myself and the blog executive.


Fear can be good for us, but...

Too much of anything can harm our mind, body, spirit, identity, and more. Also, fear can be a great guide in our life when we give it the 'right' amount and type of attention. When we try something for the first time, especially if it is something we are passionate about, we may feel fear. In this case, fear can help sharpen our minds and attention on the activity before us.


Fear can be bad for us, and...

When we allow fear to take hold to the extent it stops us from trying, we have a problem. The emotional hijacking and overload fear provides are not easy to remedy. It will take effort and a decision to face fear to wield the power it can provide. If we do not choose to face the fears in our lives, we may find the stranglehold of shame and guilt gladly holding space in our minds.


Another answer to the initial questions proposed of fear is curiosity and courage. Curiosity provides you with space from the initial gut-wrenching sensation fear can cause. Asking yourself the difficult question, where is the fear coming from is a masterful first step. Then you punch back with courage, facing the 'thing' with your head held high and doing your best. Fear indicates change, imbalance, potential danger, and other descriptive words. It is rational for most to have fear when coming face-to-face with, say, a great white shark. However, if the first feeling arising from a phone call from the workplace is fear, there may be a cause to reflect and evaluate. In either instance, practicing curiosity and courage will pay dividends.


Fear can provide us an 'easy' out for almost any circumstance. I could fill pages of digital space on this blog with times I chose to allow fear to stop me. Then I followed that fear down a rabbit hole of guilt and shame, convincing myself I was not good enough to have attempted in the first place and was better off giving up. Lately, I spend much more time reflecting on when the feeling arises, and I choose how to respond to the stimulus. It is not easy and absolutely worth it, and so are YOU.


Photo Credit: Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/erikawittlieb-427626/?utm_source=link-attribution&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=1172122">ErikaWittlieb</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com//?utm_source=link-attribution&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=1172122">Pixabay</a>


-Casper

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Kevin Larsen
Kevin Larsen
Mar 17, 2023

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences with fear. It takes courage to confront and acknowledge the ways in which fear can hold us back and cause us pain. It's understandable that fear can be overwhelming and lead us to accept trauma we don't deserve.


Your insights on the duality of fear are important. Fear can be good for us in the sense that it can sharpen our focus and help us navigate new experiences. But too much fear can be harmful, and if we allow it to take hold, it can stop us from trying and cause us to feel shame and guilt.


I appreciate your emphasis on curiosity and courage as antidotes to fear. Asking ourselves where…


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jeffd
Mar 17, 2023

confession: I have fear right now and am choosing not to face it. Guilt,shame and anxiety are with me daily. I KNOW I have to face it, yet I choose not to. Your words are on point for me. I justify everyday why I am not facing it or just suppress it further down my gut. I even know that not confronting it will only make my fear worse. Any thoughts on why I am allowing myself to allow this?

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David Cotti
David Cotti
Mar 18, 2023
Replying to

Questions to consider:


Does choosing not to face our fear make sense within the context of self-preservation? Is this productive or counter-productive within short and long-term horizons?


Does facing our fear make sense within the context of ridding ourselves of guilt, shame, and anxiety?


Are you choosing to live in guilt, shame, and anxiety?


My thoughts:


You are not alone, Brother! It's much easier to ignore and not face MY fears. However, I have found that the longer I choose to avoid my fear, the longer I rob myself of my birthright - to live an authentic and fulfilling life. Brene Brown, Ph.D., LMSW, said, "shame can not survive being spoken; it can not survive empathy." Today may be your…


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