On fear

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3 min read

Fear is our instinctive reaction to protect us from harm. This happens when we are already aware of the dangers.

Sometimes, we don’t know the dangers but our subconscious picks it up. This is when you get a gut feeling that something isn’t right. This intuition comes from thousands of years of evolution and our life experiences.

So, instead of living in fear, trusting your gut might serve you better. When we are afraid, we become anxious. Living in constant vigilance is what gives many people anxiety, whether they are aware of it or not.

Trust your instincts. Your body will intuitively tell you when it perceives a danger. Recognise the gut feeling and act on it. This is a lot more useful than being fearful.

Anxiety vs fear

When we are gripped with anxiety, it is very hard for our intuition to surface. We are trying to hear the signal from our gut. Drowning it out with fear means we are more likely to miss the signal.

However, don’t mistake fear as anxiety. Our anxiety stems from our body’s reaction to fear. When we are anxious, we are actually subconsciously suppressing our fears.

Today I escaped from anxiety.
Or no, I discarded it, because it was within me, in my own perceptions – not outside.

Marcus Aurelius

Dealing with fear

So how do we deal with our fear? Stoicism tells us that good things will happen to us, as well bad things. Life is a cycle of ups and downs. When you’re on the up, don’t get carried away because the next down is just around the corner. And when you’re down, don’t be too upset because things will get better eventually.

When we adopt a Stoic approach in life, we accept the uncertainty in life. You ask yourself what is the worst that could happen if you do something, and decide if you can accept this outcome. You already anticipate the worst case scenario.

The man who has anticipated the coming of troubles takes away their power when they arrive.

Seneca

When things go wrong, we already anticipated it and are mentally prepared for it. Most of the time, they don’t turn out as bad as we think they would.

Once we know what we face, our fears diminish or even vanish. That is when our fears have no power over us.