Is fear a bad thing?
No, I am not talking about having a phobia, which is an extreme, irrational case.
Rather, I am talking about actually fearing something, something that makes you positively shake over a very real scenario.
Is that type of fear a bad thing? Is a fear that’s all in your head a good thing?
Say you are afraid of cars, right? On one hand, you could end up being very edgy while driving, increasing the possibility of a car crash.
On the other hand, by not driving, or driving much more carefully, you eliminate the possibility of a car crash.
As you can see, fear can’t be classified as either good or bad.
In light of this thought, I decided to put up a list containing some advantages and disadvantages of fear, to ultimately answer whether or not fear is a bad thing.
Is fear a bad thing? Yay!
For starters, I am going to touch a bit of the obvious stuff around fear.
As in, the very experiences that make you ‘fear’ fear and avoid it to the best of your ability, the very things that frustrate you.
It stops you from taking action
Say you got this one person you would like to ask out, a crush of sorts.
You know why? Because you are never going to do anything with this fact!
Fear stops you from taking action for one reason or another. In this case, you don’t want to be rejected or judged by your peers
Not that I can blame you, recent studies suggest that the brain releases painkillers when faced with rejection. It doesn’t mean that being rejected hurts, but rather that your brain sees rejection as painful.
To put it simply, rejection hurts your brain just like physical injuries, so it avoids it, just like it does to physical injuries. That evasiveness manifests itself as your fear.
Back to the point at hand – you run away from the action in fear it would hurt you.
I won’t lie to you, because it might, yet if you don’t take that leap of faith you aren’t going to get anything done.
The sad part is that there is no way to approach this logically. Try as you might, it’s impossible to rationalize fear.
Seriously, try for a moment rationalizing fear.
I imagine it might go along the lines of:
- “I am scared!
- “They will judge me!”
- “It won’t be pleasant!”
- “Neither are a lot of things that you do in life.”
- “I am scared!”
Yeah, from a “logical standpoint”, crippling anxiety and fear aren’t the most pleasant of emotions to go through. You can’t make the necessary step forward for a reason you can’t even explain to yourself.
Fear won’t let you go through with this.
The funny thing is that in order to overcome fear you need to take action and fear prevents you from taking action. This is a never-ending cycle.
It makes you resist change
Say you work in this job that you hate, with people that you dislike under terrible working conditions.
You might have been considering to quit your job and look for another place to hire you, but even if you were to find an awesome job you might still hesitate.
This scenario is very similar to a kid that transfers to a new school. Some people say that they want change to happen, but most of us really don’t.
People look for stability and things that they know, thinking that it gives them more control of their lives that way.
Pretty funny if you ask me, thinking that just because you know something it makes it better. People fear the unknown and deal with the known.
If the situations were reversed, people would still be afraid.
Change can be either good or bad for you, but avoiding it altogether is dumb in an ever-changing world such as ours.
You can thank your fears for that.
The feeling of fear sucks
This one might sound kind of dumb for you, but it really isn’t.
Being afraid of stuff sucks. It makes you feel weak and helpless. No one likes to be unable to accomplish anything due to something that we can’t explain.
People tend to react to things emotionally and then explain them rationally, justifying their thoughts with ‘logic’. So when they can’t come up with a reason for being afraid they get annoyed.
They can’t reason with their fear, and that fact alone is enough to frustrate them completely.
Sad thing is, the feeling of fear is only going to get worse whenever you try harder to overcome it. It’s as if your brain wants to be afraid, or just get stuck in its “comfort zone” and never change.
I know I kind of touched on both previous points, but this one is different.
Is fear a bad thing? Nay!
With all of the above being said, I still feel that most people don’t quite get the benefits of fear.
Sure, it is unpleasant, to say the least, yet it can’t be avoided – when push comes to shove, we need fear in our life. Not only as a survival mechanism (more on that later) but as a tool to improve as people in general.
Fear helps you grow
“Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.” – Charles Swindoll
Funny how a few paragraphs back I talked about fear preventing action and change, both being important for growth, yet here I claim the opposite.
Fear isn’t so much as a source of growth, it actually prevents it, yet overcoming fear leads to major growth in character.
In that sense, fear is an obstacle for you to overcome, and once you do you become better than you were before.
Fear is a trial, a test. Passing it will lead to better results.
Just like lifting weights, it may be hard yet it becomes easier as you go, all the while making you stronger and stronger.
Taking the first step might not be comfortable for you, but it will only make you stronger should you actually try and overcome your fears.
Without fear, there can be no courage
People tend to think that being fearless means being brave, but it isn’t quite so.
You can be utterly fearful, but still be very courageous. How?
By definition, courage is about overcoming fear and hardship. These are the signs of growth, where a person shows his true colors.
If you can’t feel fear then you can’t grow to overcome it, you will be fearless, never outgrowing you own limitations since none of them bother you.
Sure, being fearless might sound pretty awesome, but look at it this way: Say you are afraid of being laughed at, you act according to social rules and never bother anyone.
If you weren’t afraid, on the other hand, you wouldn’t have cared about doing ridiculous things or being you, something that might have gotten you bullied or beaten up.
Is being fearless better? Possibly, yet courage is a sign of character where fearlessness… just isn’t.
It can save your life
the most basic reason that we feel fear has to do with our needs rather than our wants.
According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid, all humans have the following needs (with differing levels of importance)
- Basic needs (food, breathing, sleep etc)
- Security (shelter, economical etc)
- belonging (friends, family, and sexual relations)
- esteem (confidence and the like)
- Self-actualization (Morality and such)
Any fear you might have has to do with one of these, phobias notwithstanding.
So yeah, I imagine that if you try and jump off a roof (hurting your security), you might be doing something dumb, all possible safety measures aside.
The fact that your brain stops you indicates that you might be damaging yourself as a result of whatever it is that you are doing.
Fear pushes your brain in the “fight or flight” mechanism, which helps you cope with these damaging, dangerous situations.
If it wasn’t for our sense of fear, humanity would have been extinct a long time ago.
final thoughts and conclusions
We would all like to be free of fear, yet fearlessness isn’t all it was cracked up to be.
It’s neither. Much like greed, fear isn’t a perfect quality to have, yet it can be very helpful to you if you learn to control it.
“Easier said than done, considering how fear manipulates the mind, yet the experience will help you in the long run.
Crazy how we tend to react to such minor things as rats in such an extreme way, yet that’s a part of what makes us not only humans but living beings in general.
Here’s a question to think about – Have you ever tried facing your fears?
Make sure to leave your answer in the comment section below, I read every single one of them!
If you got something you would like to ask me personally make sure to send me a quick email, I reply to all of them as soon as possible and to the best of my ability!