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5 Shared Fears and How to Control Them: Unveiling Their Origins
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A famous quote attributed to former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt states, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
I believe he is correct when he says that dread of fear creates more issues in our lives than the emotion of fear itself. I am aware that this assertion requires a little bit more elaboration.
A poor reputation has been earned through fear. Yet despite our best efforts, it’s not quite as difficult as we make it out to be. Fear may be defined as an uneasy sensation that is brought on by our expectation of some anticipated event or experience. This is a straightforward and helpful description of dread.
The nervous sensation that we experience when we are terrified is a regular biological response, according to the specialists in medicine that we consulted. Whether we are terrified of being attacked by a dog, of being rejected by a potential date, or of having our taxes inspected, the physical manifestations of our anxiety are quite similar.
In its most fundamental form, fear, like all other feelings, is information. If we make the decision to embrace it, it might provide us with wisdom and insight. Yet there are just five fundamental worries, which are the building blocks from which practically all of our other fanciful anxieties are constructed. They include:
the anxiety caused by the prospect of oblivion, or the ending of all things. This is a deeper and more meaningful way of putting it than just saying “fear of death.” A core existential worry is triggered in every normal person when they consider the possibility of no longer being. Think about the sensation of impending doom that comes over you as you peer over the edge of a tall building.
the anxiety that comes from the notion of losing any part of our priceless biological structure; the anxiety that comes from the concept of having the borders of our body invaded; the anxiety that comes from the thought of losing the integrity of any organ, body part, or natural function.
The dread of being maimed is at the root of one’s anxiety when it comes to scary creatures like insects, spiders, snakes, and other eerie things.
Loss of Control or Autonomy
the dread of being unable to move, of being paralysed, of being constrained, of being engulfed, of being swamped, of being ensnared, of being suffocated, or of being dominated in any other way by circumstances that are beyond our control. It is generally referred to as claustrophobia when it manifests in its physical form, but it may also manifest in our social interactions and relationships.
the dread of being abandoned, of being rejected, and of losing connectivity; the fear of turning into a non-person who is not desired, respected, or cherished by anybody else. When administered by a group, the so-called “silent treatment” may have a catastrophic impact on the person or people it is directed against.
the dread of being humiliated or shamed, or any other mechanism of intense self-disapproval that threatens the loss of integrity of the self; the fear of one’s built sense of lovability, competency, and worthiness being shattered or disintegrated.
One way to think about this is as the formation of a straightforward hierarchy, often known as a “feararchy”:
Take a moment to consider the many names we give to our worries. Fear of heights or falling is essentially the dread of extinction (perhaps accompanied with major mutilation, but that’s kind of secondary) so let’s get them out of the way first. Worry that you won’t succeed? Think of it as the terror of your own personal death.
The fear of being disapproved of? That’s the dread of being alone, and maybe the worry of losing one’s identity as well. Many people’s dread of public speaking stems from an irrational concern that they will somehow be humiliated in front of an audience. Worry about being close to someone, or “fear of commitment,” is really just a fear of giving up some degree of control.
These fundamental worries have different names, but they are all simply aliases. A person’s deepest, darkest worries will be revealed as one delves into their history. Examples of emotions that might be linked to this worry include jealousy and feelings of worthlessness: “She’ll appreciate him more than she values me.” At its most extreme, “I’ll be a useless person” expresses the dread of one’s own ego’s death. Similarly, envy accomplishes its goals in the same manner.
Feelings of shame and embarrassment might reflect an underlying anxiety about or experience of isolation and even a sense of having one’s “self” die. The feelings of shame and guilt are reciprocal.
Anger is often a surface emotion that rests on a foundation of fear. Those who are being oppressed often lash out because they fear or feel a total loss of control and identity. The annihilation of a people’s way of life at the hands of an occupying force might seem like the death of their collective persona. Those who instill terror in us will pay with our wrath.
Religious prejudice and bigotry may be an outward manifestation of an underlying existential dread of death: “What if my god isn’t the correct or best god? Then I’m screwed. Without God on my side, I have no defence against the indifferent elements of nature. It’s possible that my ticket might be revoked at any time and for no apparent reason.”
It’s true that certain of our phobias may help us stay alive in the wild. Although some reflexes are innate, others are learnt and may be unlearned or retaught.
Realizing that many of our avoidance reactions—such as declining a party invitation if we tend to be uncomfortable in groups, putting off a doctor’s appointment, or not asking for a raise—are instant reflexes that are reactions to the memories of fear makes the concept of “fearing our fears” seem less strange. Because of how rapidly they occur, we seldom feel the full force of our terror.
Micro-fear describes the subconscious emotional response we have that serves as a code for the more substantial fear. We respond with flight or flight behaviour just as much to this subconscious fear response as to conscious terror. Because of this, it is reasonable to suggest that many of our purportedly fearful emotions are, in fact, fears of fears.
Fear and its partner emotions may be thought about consciously when we shift our perspective from the Freudian idea of dread as the welling up of evil forces inside us to seeing them as information. Moreover, the less our anxieties overwhelm us and dominate us, the more precisely and calmly we can describe the causes of the dread.
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