Facing Your Fears

Fears and phobias, by and large, instill tremendous anxiety from the outset of any unsettling personal thought. Phobias, being less focused on in this essay, are illuminated inside the purview of fears and create a sense of psychological impairment. For example, I’m 96% sure I have arachnophobia, well, according to me. Anytime I’m confronted by the eight-legged freaks, I suddenly become perturbed by involuntary reflexes and emotions. It’s really as if I have no control of my body. Fears, on the other hand, don’t seem to go that far in the domain of “scarediness.” Many people fear heights, but will be unhesitant to ride Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure; a phobia of heights (acrophobia) will leave you grounded in the kiddy park. Day in and day out, people tend to tackle fears in a way that is highly admirable; but, unfortunately, many of us remain stagnant: staring through the lens of uncertainty and worry, only to find ourselves back at the spot where we once were before. Fears, disconcertingly, act as a safeguarding response mechanism to things that may threaten or hurt us. This is something that doesn’t seem maladaptive. But, once fears get overanalyzed when there’s no injury in the way such as public speaking, we can overcome these “glitches” in our system by recognizing and preparing for what’s at stake.

Nearly everyone has faced an internal battle with their own nerves. From the knots in the stomach to light-headed wooziness: these profound feelings evince stress. What’s worse, when the aforementioned feelings arise, you can’t help but prolong the process of queasiness because of the vicious cycle of negative thinking.

The fear of public speaking is widespread, and seems to coincide with acute anxiety. Understandably, it’s nearly impossible to mollify the feelings of distress that creep up on you in the wake of a presentation or speech. A slew of people would pay a large sum of money to abscond standing in front of a big crowd of people. What exactly is making us so afraid? In my estimation, it’s disapproval. When you’re in the visual radius of 50 to 100 people who all seem to be judging you, you can’t help but think the utmost worst of how they’re perceiving you. All our lives we thrive to be social butterflies and once our reputation gets an overwhelming amount of scrutiny, our fight-or-flight response activates, thus leaving us in a stupor of uncomfortability. By besmirching your purported “image” or “character” you may be overwrought by an outcome that seems undesirable. We, for most part, strive to make the best impression on our peers and those of higher status to gain some credibility in society.

The biological reactions that fire off and take over our bodies is something that’s been embedded in us. Survival tactics once were extremely vital to the savior of one’s body. If there was some rustling in the bushes nearby, you had to be fast on your feet to realize if it was a portent of death or something like a kindred spirit. By choosing the former, you gave yourself the undeniable ‘live-another-day’ card. Animals who became a bit too curious would ordinarily bite the dust. Our unconscious instincts drive us and have landed us to be on the winning side of the survival of the fittest gauntlet. Without these death-preventing measures, we may have had a short shelf life as human beings.

What suddenly emerges out of a person’s will to overcome fears that have scarred them for nearly their whole life? Maybe we’ve suppressed our bravery. Maybe we’ve had a past experience that tainted our outlook on a certain perspective of a “thing” or endeavor. Human beings are remarkably fascinating. The thresholds for pain that get transcended by indefatigable feats and acts of valor are truly laudable. Friends of mine have plodded through fears like soldiers in Vietnam. They’ve accomplished things they would have been afraid to play a part in just a mere 5 years ago. There was no cognitive behavior therapy that they used; just sheer guts and determination to triumph over the normal standard of human limits that we arbitrarily place on ourselves.

An erstwhile experience of mine was a shining example of fear itself. I had the unenviable displeasure of dealing with a drowning child in my pool. Given the massive amount of brain-rattling terror when I was gazing at the face of an 11-year old with a distended stomach along with eyes rolled back in his head, I instantly felt the amalgamation of every worst possible emotion. Whether it was from witnessing a quasi-dead person in my backyard to the forethought of having not saved this innocent young child, I couldn’t let this ride on my conscious any longer before my unconscious swiftly stepped in to handle things on autopilot. My fear was characterized by apprehension. At first view, I became unshakably paralyzed. As all these chemicals were going off in my anatomy, I eventually came to with the proper know-how to muster up some courage to administer CPR. Without the help of my father and my cousin, that poor kid would have perished that sunny Monday back in June of 2011.

People have the mental wherewithal to face obstacles and rise above the hardscrabble by foreseeing themselves succeed. Positive reinforcement and an optimistic attitude on life creates an urge to embark upon things that once seemed inconceivable. A lot of fear manifests itself out of distasteful outcomes that we ostensibly have no control over. Moreover, fear can be debilitative; stripping us our total potentiality and dehumanizing us down to quail sheep. Just remember: what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. It’s our prerogative as sentient creatures to conquer everything that lies in our way and obstructs our betterment. The best way to beat fear is to unravel yourself out of the cobwebs of doubt by looking past your irrationality of what’s exactly at hand. But here’s the twist: maybe we’re all just comprised of billions of cells of which we had no hand in making within a universe replete with infinite particles and a product of behaviors that exist in faculties of our brain which we cannot breach (unconscious), ultimately leading us down the steep hill of a lack of free will. Plausible? Yes, but it remains to be seen…

Image