Everyone knows what it’s like to be halted by fear. Fear of death or serious injury can stop you from skydiving. Fear of financial loss can stop you from starting a business. Fear of ridicule can stop you from living life to your own drumbeat.
In addition to the typical encounters with fear however, fear often worms its way into my mind in a more subtle and insidious way; fear of regret. If you’re like me, then our desire to be in control, to be right, causes us to not make a decision or take an action because of the fear of regretting that decision or action. Even if the ‘wrong’ outcome wouldn’t be such a big deal, we simply don’t want to make the wrong decision, so we hesitate or even freeze completely. Developing the ability to not carry regret, but instead to view an undesired outcome as experience, can free us to take more chances and experience more of life.
“He who has overcome his fears will truly be free.” – Aristotle
“Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom.” – Marilyn Ferguson
I’m sleeping peacefully when suddenly I awake for no reason. Before I know it, my head is awash with a stew of anxiety and worries, my peaceful sleep torn to shreds. Illogical, non-sensical worries that in the light of day might only garner a few seconds of thought, now loom like giant shadows of twisted monsters in an old black and white horror movie. My heart is racing and I’m overwhelmed with a feeling of claustrophobia. My warm bed is no longer comforting but now stifling, my dark room not soothing but terrifying. Even to my adult brain, in the dead of night, these tigers are as real as childhood monsters under the bed. Why am I worrying? What do I really have to fear? I know that there are no monsters under the bed or tigers in the closet, but I toss and turn for hours, relieved to finally see the first rays of dawn streaming in. These nights don’t happen often, but when they do, I remind myself that in the morning light the shadows will be swept away, the monsters will disappear and the tigers will be gone.
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7
Fear is often encountered as the emotion that stops us from doing something. Greed is the emotion that can motivate us to try very hard to get something. But often what we see or interpret as greed is actually a manifestation of fear. Fear of missing out, fear of not fulfilling one’s potential, fear of not meeting the expectations of others, fear of not having enough (or being seen to have enough) can all manifest as greed. But even after we accumulate enough, then greed (or the fear of losing some of the enough) drives us to accumulate more just in case the enough isn’t really enough. It is impossible to be happy or content with a life driven by fear and greed. Only when then we become mindful of these emotions and how they can influence our actions, can we begin to escape the grip of fear and greed on our lives.
Greed, like the love of comfort, is a kind of fear. – Cyril Connolly
Some adrenaline fuelled antics with my daughter today. From the ground the tree running looks mild, but in the trees it’s flipping heart pounding.