It hides under the bed and in the darkness, it comes over us at high altitude or during a retreat. Sometimes as a spider, sometimes as a tight elevator, sometimes as a math teacher
– in whatever shape –
Everyone knows it, nobody likes it, nobody is spared by it. Fear is part of life.
However, the science fiction film After Earth, in which the confrontation with fear plays a decisive role, draws a different picture… .
“Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity. Do not misunderstand me danger is very real but fear is a choice.”Cypher Raige to Kitai Raige in After Earth
The fear as a decision?
What is it about this quote from the Hollywood dream factory? If you leave the pithy formulations out and look at the content, a simple message emerges: your fear exists only through you, it is your assessment of a situation.
Which does not automatically mean that fear is something bad.
Quite the contrary: Without fear there would not be us. Already in the Stone Age, fear made sure that we perceived dangers at all, that we are vigilant and that we can make decisions at lightning speed. So fear is important! Those with no fear will not be able to react quickly to dangers or they will not even perceive them as such. Rather, the problem with fear is that it not only warns us, but comes at us with such force that we believe we can no longer handle it. It paralyzes us or makes us panic, we can no longer think clearly, no longer know where up and down.
The fear takes possession of us.
At this point a different view of our fears can help! Seeing fear as a decision gives us the power to not simply accept it! We can determine what level of anxiety we want to allow!