I like to think that fear comes in three different forms; good fear, bad fear, and down right weird fear.
Or, if you’d rather, helpful fear, unhelpful fear and completely irrational fear.
Good or helpful fear is the kind that our brain uses to preventing us doing something utterly dumb, like a fear of getting struck by a car stopping us from jumping into oncoming traffic for a giggle.
On the contrary, bad (unhelpful) fear actually stops us from doing something that could be good for us, like a fear of rejection preventing us from asking that pretty girl out on a date.
And then there’s the weird, irrational fears, like being afraid of sheep or tennis shoes which are mostly neither help nor hindrance (unless you happen to be a tennis-playing sheep farmer) in daily life but are nonetheless terrifying.
I also like to think that if I rounded up my own fears (of which there are many), I’d find that most fall into the first camp, a few into the last and that the middle category remains empty. I like to think that, but honestly, when I do, I’m only kidding myself.
After Monday’s 5 awesome songs about FEAR, I spent more time listening to those songs and thinking about what scares me the most:
1) The Good/Helpful: Fear of not accomplishing anything
I don’t doubt for a second that I’m only one of scores of people who are afraid of dying Like, I suspect most people, when it all comes down to it I'm afraid to die. More specifically, I'm afraid of laying on my death bed looking back over my life and realising that I wasted the one opportunity I had to do something awesome.
What if I reach the end of my life and I've done nothing with it? That scares me, but I consider it a good kind of scared. Subconsciously, that's what gets me out of bed in a morning, that's what channels my thoughts into achieving goals, creating things, making stories and passing them on in the hope that they'll last longer than I will. That's how I look at fear positively.
2) The Bad/unhelpful - Fear of saying 'no.'
Though this could just as easily be filed under the Inane/Irrational/totally weird fear, I think of this as unhelpful fear simply because, in my own head, I can totally justify it.
The ego is a fragile thing, especially if that ego happens to belong to me, and it, and it's this same fragile ego that often creates a fear of saying 'no.' I've long since identified this as a weakness, came to realize that saying 'no' to someone won't mean they'll suddenly stop liking me, leave me forever and never want to talk to me again and hurt my ego, and that not saying no when I really should can often get me in all kinds of unwelcome situations. I've even taken steps to gain more confidence in situations when I need to utter that one little word, but still I get a bit unnerved when I have to turn somebody, or something down, and the amount of times that my failure to say no has ultimately prevented me from doing something good for myself certainly justifies this being here.
3) The Weird and irrational - Frogs
As a child, I witnessed a sadistic friend of mine to death. I don't judge him because of it; he was a young boy taking things like setting fire to ants with a magnifying glass. It was a nasty thing to do, I give you that, and for some completely unexplained reason I've had the most terrible fear of frogs ever since. They're slimy, creepy, devious little creatures born of some cruel person's worse nightmare.
Just the mention of frogs, seeing frogs on TV or coming across photos of them can send shivers down my spine. About the closest I can get to the creepy little sods is Kermit, and even then I swear there's something sinister lurking beneath those beady little eyes.
Luckily, I tend not to encounter frogs much in my daily life, which is why I tend not to spend too much time thinking about what might happen if I did. After all, what's the point in living in fear and worrying over something that isn't likely to happen, all that does is prevent us from focussing on the positive things that will happen if we work for them.
But that's another post for another time.