Single Sisters Speak Out

The Modern Life of the Single Sister

We All Have It…. November 4, 2009

Filed under: Single Sisters On... — peyso @ 11:27 pm

After reading Cuzzo’s post yesterday, I too wanted to analyze a word that I deal with everyday. That word is fear. Fear is defined as “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.”

Charles Darwin described it as “Fear is often preceded by astonishment, and is so far akin to it, that both lead to the senses of sight and hearing being instantly aroused. In both cases the eyes and mouth are widely opened, and the eyebrows raised. The frightened man at first stands like a statue motionless and breathless, or crouches down as if instinctively to escape observation. The heart beats quickly and violently, so that it palpitates or knocks against the ribs… That the skin is much affected under the sense of great fear, we see in the marvelous manner in which perspiration immediately exudes from it… The hairs also on the skin stand erect; and the superficial muscles shiver. In connection with the disturbed action of the heart, the breathing is hurried. The salivary glands act imperfectly; the mouth becomes dry, and is often opened and shut.”

I think that the definition is particularly interesting in that it allows room for things that are perceived and not real. In order to qualify as a fear, there is no reality component to qualify. There is room for the mind to conceive the things that we fear as a way to prepare us and motivate action. Notice that the definition makes no mention of inaction due to fear.  Society has conditioned us to feel that fear is a terrible thing. That if we are fearful we are weak. I in fact beg to differ. As Darwin pointed out there is a biological and practical function for the reactions that fear induces in the body. I know there are examples in my life where fear has caused my body to become hypersensitive and because of that hypersensitivity I was able to notice things that I would not have noticed if I was in my normal state.

However, there are things that are not and were not worth me fearing. The reaction that fear causes in the body ultimately tiring. Theoretically, the reaction to fear would tire us out and ultimately make us more susceptible to a danger if it was to come after a false alarm. I always wondered if the body has or ever had biological checkpoints that would prevent this. We have all been guilty of being afraid of things that were not worthy of our fair. I for one was afraid of bats. Not baseball bats. But bats that fly blindly. Up until I was ten years old, I was afraid to open closets because I thought that a camp of bats would attack me and suck my blood or even grab me by my arms and carry me to bat land. I’m glad that I never allowed my fear of bats to prevent me from opening closets. However, there are some things that I still fear today. Example: I fear flushing the toilet while I am still seated on the toilet. I always think that water might splash up my cornhole or even worse water my get in my mini me.

What are your fears? Do you allow fear to paralyze you and prevent you from taking action? Do you have any fears that are outright ridiculous?

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6 Responses to “We All Have It….”

  1. I believe that fear has been misused by society. I’m afraid of a lot of things but have never feared being afraid. fear, as described by Darwin, should be used as a catalyst for action.

    I’m afraid of not being successful. that fear is a catalyst for me to give my best effort at all that i do.

    I’m afraid of dying young like my father did due to complications of diabetes and bad health. that fear is a catalyst that keeps me engaged in physical activity, weightlifting, healthy eating (sometimes) and focused at having a physical, mental, spiritual and emotional well being. along with all that, I’m afraid of allowing my health to be a burden to my wife and kids. it was tough for my ol g to be caring for a sick man most of her life. my dad appreciated her more and more each day for living the “till death do us part” oath to the fullest, but it was tough for her.

    i think we need to reteach (starting with our youth) how we look at fear. I think we have spent too much time teaching our childrennot to be afraid versus teaching them how to deal with things they are afraid of. men do this with our sons all the time. “don’t be afraid” is how we raise them from the beginning. take this punch. don’t run from nobody. don’t be scurrred. should we be instead teaching that when that fear arises, when you’re faced with a situation that causes you to be afraid, that fear should be a call for you to use all the training, knowledge, past experiences, wisdom you have acquired to make the best choices that will give you the highest probability of a desired result. fear isn’t something you should be ashamed of. poor reactions to fear should make you shake in your boots though.

    good post.

  2. FlawedBeauty Says:

    Great post.

    Hi Rob. I’m gonna respond but I’ve got to cook this food.

    Hard to do when you can hardly stand and you have to think SO HARD to respond properly.

  3. Peyso Says:

    So I’ve been busy all morning….

    “fear isn’t something you should be ashamed of. poor reactions to fear should make you shake in your boots though. ” I agree wholeheartedly with these 2 sentences right here. I like it because it doesnt prescribe a particular reaction. It doesnt say you should run. It doesnt say you should stand and fight. It doesnt say that fear should or shouldnt paralyze you into inaction. what it does imply is that there is an appropriate reaction to fear and it will differ between situation

  4. LP Says:

    I think I probably have a slightly different take on fear.

    I agree with the second part of your post, any fear which is prolonged will have bad effects anyways.

    However, I don’t know if I consider Fear to be a good catalyst of actions. I believe when we respond in Fear because our senses are heightened, we are bound to over-react. I subscribe to listening to our instinct and reacting accordingly, but I don’t think I will qualify it as fear.

    There was a dialogue in Apocalypto (Mel Gisbon’s movie) that summarize my understanding of Fear and I quote (thanks imdb):

    Flint Sky: Those people in the forest, what did you see on them?
    Jaguar Paw: I do not understand.
    Flint Sky: Fear. Deep rotting fear. They were infected by it. Did you see? Fear is a sickness. It will crawl into the soul of anyone who engages it. It has tainted your peace already. I did not raise you to see you live with fear. Strike it from your heart. Do not bring it into our village.

    And that my friends, is how, I understand fear. It is a sickness.

  5. @LP: If fear is a sickness, it must be the common cold. cause we all have it.

    I like the notion of Mel’s script, but I think it is def Hollywood . even the greatest of leaders have fear, it is their reaction to said fears that distinguish them from others. their fears are like their shadow, it is always present. the general that leads his army into war is afraid, he doesn’t show it however and in doing so, is an example to his troops as to how they should behave/react to that ill feeling in the pit of their stomach. the single mother is afraid. she doesn’t show it as to remind her child that effort eases uncertainty. the “sickness” never subsides, the reaction to those fears is the temporary cure.

    Mel’s don’t “bring it into our village” notion sort of hints at the idea that fear isn’t born within us.

  6. Shannon Says:

    I look fear in the eye every morning and tell him I’m ready.


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