If you are generally risk-averse, it is best to accept the raw truth that fear is a reality. Many people will go to great lengths to subtly wipe the irksome twinge of fear off their life palette; however, the act of avoiding experiences, emotions, and feelings that ignite fear is unavoidable.
The Oxford Dictionary defines fear as “an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm.” When you take a closer look at its definition, the word “emotion” indicates that fear is intangible. Like other feelings, such as happiness, melancholy, or jealousy, fear belongs only in our minds.
Often, something that causes fear is not as bad as it seems. What magnifies fear is the act of anticipating that a particular experience will go wrong, leaving little room to believe that things could actually go right. For example, say you are cooking dinner for a few friends. At first, you think, How hard can it be to prepare a simple dish of pasta and a nice dessert? But once you begin planning out the ingredients, your budget, and so forth, this overthinking leads to negativity. What if I don’t make enough? What if it doesn’t taste good? What if they never come over for dinner again? Slowly these thoughts ball up into a nasty monster of fear. Letting the monster take control strips your enjoyment of life’s simple moments when things are going well. Your focus on mere possibilities is devouring.
That being said, we should not attempt to avoid fear altogether (because it is impossible), but use that energy to improve our response to the experiences, thoughts, and circumstances that cause fear. This includes working hard to produce the best outcome while accepting that you cannot plan everything. We need to face that obscure area of life and the only way of knowing what it contains is to take a leap. With hope, we can create a more optimistic life, despite the inevitable presence of fear.
Fear can make us cower and hold back, or it can help us live boldly. Fear isn’t going anywhere; we just need to step up our game.