There’s a reason people in advertising, politicians and the like use fear as a motivator. It is, after all, the most powerful motivator of them all.
Fear is one of the oldest, most intense of human emotions. It’s an unpleasant, highly motivated state with a sole, single, driving purpose, to keep from being hurt. The hurt can be physical as in life and death struggles, or putting your body in physical danger; or the hurt can be the threat of ruin, public failure, being the object of laughter or pity.
In our modern world we often play with fear. There are adrenaline rush rides in amusement parks. Air balloon outings, skydiving and trips in private planes. Any entertainment that evokes fear in a controlled (safe) way is almost sure to win us over. We like nothing better than to recline in a comfy seat and experience graphic, intense fear.
At a safe distance, of course.
All the while other people on this earth, refugees flooding Europe right now are living with real fear for their very existence, every single day. These are ordinary people fleeing home with nothing but what they can carry. Moving forward where no one wants (or can handle) them because they cannot stay in their homeland. The stories (via a Twitter account) are terrible. they get worse if you try the hashtag #refugeecrisis. I can’t imagine living with that kind of fear, and I doubt many of my pampered, aloof fellow citizens would manage it all that well.
It seems impossible that people suffer like this in 2015. We have absolutely no business calling ourselves evolved or superior while this goes on.
As for me, I’ve fought a lifelong battle with fear‘s first cousin, anxiety. Fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear of death, fear of failing, fear of losing. Fear has given me more than a fair measure of misery. Despite my fear and worry, the tragedies of my life have come and wrought their misery anyway. Fear offered no protection. The emotion feeds on itself and gives nothing back, except sleepless nights, stress to the body, needless angst, pain and suffering that blots out the chance for anything better.
Allowing fear free reign has done me no favors in the past; this realization helps me to face it down now. To know that the angst is part of the process, natural when facing the unfamiliar, but not worthy of command. Putting fear in control keeps me (and others, I’d guess) from doing what we should do, what we know is right, what is risky but necessary.
So, for the first time in my life, I’m facing a very fear producing situation, without giving this emotion free reign. Fear is not going to be in control of me, will not keep me from doing what I know is the right thing. Fear will not be the legacy I leave my children.
Though if past events are any indicator, fear will give it once helluva try.