The presence of fear

 The presence of fear is an indicator of something I need to pay attention to. It is my response to fear and defining it as “good” or “bad” that often determines my actions.  Shakespeare (Hamlet) comes to mind – “there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

Like all of our emotions, fear is necessary to our survival. Being afraid of people with loaded weapons, for example, is healthy because I will stay alive longer if I fear and avoid them. There are rational fears that I need to pay attention to because they indicate situations that might result in harm to me (such as reckless drivers, bottomless drops off of cliffs, the guy who has been married and divorced — worse: widowed — five times, and my cat when I have forgotten to feed her . . .

There are irrational fears . . . some people call them phobias. Fear of water, fear of open places, fear of closed places . . . there is a phobia for just about anything (check out

Then, there is the fear of living, of being truly alive. It is not on the phobia list. I checked. Some of us are afraid to be truly alive because we anticipate something bad might happen to us. You have to listen to the fear story you are telling yourself. All fear stories have a plot that exists somewhere in future time. The story will cause you to doubt yourself and think that you are less than you are.

Regardless of what scares me, I find two very important things give me comfort: first, I can always act and take care of myself in spite of my fear; second, I was born with everything I need to endure, resolve, cope, heal, be, defend, and continue. My certainty that I will continue to exist eternally sustains me. This is true for you, too.

Every moment beyond this one . . . and this one . . . and this one . . . (you get the idea) is unknown. There is only the eternal present. Because I have a past, a history, a body of knowledge of dealing with all the unknowns I have encountered, and I have successfully lived through those moments (as have you), I know that I have everything I need to deal with the unknown even if I don’t know how I might deal with it right now.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

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4 Responses to “The presence of fear”

  1. holessence Says:

    “I know that I have everything I need.”

    Those words are extremely comforting and reassuring, Barbara. What a great way to start that day! Thank you.

  2. sandiwhite Says:

    Barbara, it is amazing to think of the many brave souls who fought their fears everyday to bring us the knowledge we now take for granted. Marie Curie, Amelia Earhart, Florence Nightingale, Jane Goodall for example. And these are but a tiny portion of the men and women who laid their lives on the line to bring us the advances in knowledge and expertise that we seldom think twice about today. If they could face and conqueror their fears, maybe we should take a page from their books and step out on our life’s path with a little more certainty and faith. Everything will not always go smoothly, but progress will be made in the long run, even if it is simply a test of Faith. A firm and confident step makes the journey a lively experience instead of a forced march.

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Hi, Sandi — I remember first reading about Marie Curie when I was in the fourth grade and I thought “Wow . . . look what she did.” All of the people you mention above appear to have one thing in common: they believed in themselves and their mission in life.

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