The dictionary may have a word for a lack of fear – unafraid – but I’m challenging the idea that you can be totally fearless without being reckless, or at least very naïve.
A certain amount of fear is as necessary as it is unavoidable, so it’s best to think in terms of ‘working through fear’, ‘sitting with fear’ and even ‘learning to live with fear’ rather than trying to conquer it or eliminate it completely.
And I reckon we start by cutting fear down to size – usually it’s our own imagination that conjures larger than life problems far bigger than they actually are. When we get realistic about what we actually have to be scared of, we can waste far less worry (because worry is always wasted, even when fear serves its purpose).
There’s nothing like art to powerfully demonstrate that point (as I rediscovered on a recent visit to Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art).
Little Yang may think I’m a scary Mum sometimes, but who is looking at you kid!
His Dad had fun pretending to throw him in the big red hole, but is it really a hole or just an illusion?
Yes this might be a giant snake sculpture, but it isn’t venomous.
It looks hairy and scary, but…
Thousands of kids have gone down this slide. Little Yang made the height requirement but couldn’t quite muster the courage. Next time.
There’s fear in excitement and anticipation and challenge and daring and in the unknown.
All good fear. Thrilling. We just have to channel it to motivate and empower us.
Of course there’s bad fear in shame, judgment, procrastination, anxiety and negative habits. It is somewhat ironic that more fear can be found in our inability to move forward from negative patterns than in the anticipation of new and uncertain possibilities.
Get unstuck. Cut fear down to size. Stare it in the face if you need to. Smile at it. Laugh with it.
Ultimately the only way we conquer fear is to make friends with it. Happy New Year – hope you are getting comfortable with fear so far in 2017. Linking up with Kylie Purtell for IBOT.