What do you fear? Does that question immediately bring an image to your mind or maybe you could make a list of things that make you break into a cold sweat? We all have things that make us uncomfortable but is it the fear that is important or the thought behind the fear? Here, in the midst of spooky season everyone, except me, seems to enjoy being scared senseless but it makes me wonder if we got down to the foundational issue within our fears if we could handle them a little better. I think our fears fall into a few categories. Physical fears…the things that can actually happen to us. Emotional/Mental fears… the fears that affect our minds not our bodies. Ridiculous fears… the fears that don’t necessarily make any type of logical sense but still creep us out. Here are mine…
Physical Fear: Deep Water
I've watched the Mythbusters episode on escaping from an underwater car multiple times in the hopes of surviving.
Specifically, my fear is going off a bridge into water and being trapped in a car. I know where this fear came because the memory is burned in my brain. I was at a Sunday School swim party decades ago when a little girl, who would have been labeled a challenge, held me under water to the point that I thought I was going to drown. I remember getting out of the pool and deciding deep water was not for me. I did not like the idea of feeling trapped so of course the idea of being trapped in a car is 10,000 times worse. Since this a fear I can’t run from if I want to travel outside of my neighborhood, I decided a long time ago to deal with my concerns by preparing the best I could. I’ve probably watched every possible how-to on escaping from a submerged car and I have an “escape hammer” in my door pocket. Don’t get me wrong, going across a river still makes me want to vomit but sometimes the best you can do is prepare yourself
Emotional/Mental Fear: Criticism
I doubt anyone really loves criticism but I came to the realization a few years back that I was taking my dislike of criticism to a very unhealthy level. I was literally doing everything in my power to protect myself from criticism which was basically driving me insane. You can chase the “perfection” of the world but you will NEVER achieve it and you have to be okay with that. You also have to be okay with people disliking and criticizing you because that is life. For us people pleasers, that’s a tall order but driving yourself to the brink of insanity all in the name of protecting yourself from negative feelings is also not a great option.
Ridiculous Fear: Windmills in Texas
I think we all have something silly that creeps us out. For me, it’s the big windmills in Texas. (Yes, I know they are really turbines.) I know they provide a wonderful source of energy and are the wave of the future but they give me the hebee jebees! I hate how they loom out of the distance like a creepy, robot army. It bothers me enough that they have become a joke with my loved ones. I have no logical reason as to why they scare me because other large structures don’t bother me at all but it’s something about them all lined up for miles and miles that make me uncomfortable.
We will never outrun all of our fears but we should also work to not be frozen by them. Fear can be healthy and protect us in certain scenarios but we need to be aware if a fear is keeping us from living a full and productive life. Sometimes, you may realize with some careful thought that your fears aren’t really as unsurmountable as you initially thought and other times you may realize that you’re going to have to face your fear head on. I’m learning that doing scary things can be the start to something amazing and that often the anticipation of the scary thing is twenty times worse than the actual event. As Newt Scamander so wisely said, “…worrying means you suffer twice