How Fear Influences Your Everyday Life (2)

This is the second post in a two part series on a how fear influences your everyday life. In the first post on fear, last week, I tried to dissect how fear is wired in to our current lives without a valid reason. In this second part, I will explore how society is actually stimulating this fear-based lifestyle at the same time offering us a solution in materialistic form instead of supporting us to deal with it internally.

Where our society has developed faster than anybody could have imagined, our bodies like plants, take a little longer. Our society requires us to behave and learn in a certain way to keep it’s materialistic parts in place. Leaving little space to actually learn to interact with ourselves. Where society stimulates us to externalize our problems, the real solution always lies within ourselves. In Buddhism for example, it is being tought that the origin and solution of our problems can be found within ourselves. This is also the case with fear-based behavior.

Fake Security

Nevertheless, we have created material constructs to give a sense of security to reduce our fears. We have insurances for health, cars, houses, belongings or even parts of our body, so that we do not have to be afraid before something happens. Still, we end up being afraid when something happens, because it might just be that the insurance will not cover the incident.

I remember sitting in a public hospital waiting room in Buenos Aires. I could barely walk, I could not stretch my left knee and I was hurting like hell. The day before I had twisted my knee provoking a sensation unfamiliar to me. The first thing my Physical Therapist brain told me, is that I injured my meniscus. This would mean long recovery and possible surgery. I wondered if my insurance would cover this, and I realized that to resolve this injury I might need to fly to Europe to do surgery.

Anyway, after waiting for three hours the doctor showed up. He assessed my knee doing two tests, and told me I might be lucky and that I probably sprained my medial colletaral ligament. Even though, the doctor did two assessments that I know to be very unreliable, my perspective changed and my fear subsided. All of a sudden everything seemed managable again. Even though, nothing about my situation had changed.

With a calm mind I realized that the doctor’s diagnosis was probably right. Nevertheless, during the 24 hours before, fear had kept me in a tunnel. Only worrying about one possible outcome even though there were more. In this process I was in touch with my travel insurance agency. They told me that I would have to pay the first 900 euros of whatever treatment would be done.

Where everybody usually takes a travel insurance, if they can, it does not prevent any accident from happening. It shows here that my organized materialistic protection did not aid me in resolving my fears after suffering my injury. It was just a monetary protection generating a false sense of security.

Everyday Worries

Furthermore, worries like: will I have enough money for next month? Will I be able to participate in the next exam? Am I strong enough to win this contest? And, can I stick to my diet change?, might provoke feelings of fear and a sense of insecurity. If we do not become conscious of the limiting effects of these feelings, we might make such feelings a foundation to decide upon. Fear seems to force our attention towards it’s origin. Therefore, it does not go well with balanced thoughts, planning capabilities and weighed decision taking.

However, a large part of our society keeps thriving on this primal emotion. A new alarm at home will make sure the thieves do not get in to the house and a new smoke alarm will prevent the house from burning down. Both of these alarms are there to protect our possessions. Interestingly, the idea that something is “ours” after we have acquired it is a human invention. Where after, a fear for losing these possessions might arise. To take this fear of losing away, we created insurances and alarms.

The Flip Side of Possession

Possession and dependence are among the most freedom undermining concepts. Where in reality we are free to begin with, these posessions actually take away our freedom after we generate the idea that we depend on them.

However, if we manage to detach from everything we have, we also lose the sensation of fear and dependence connected to it. I personally experienced this during my travels. At home, I was thinking about everything I was not taking with me in my backpack, and how this would limit me. Once I was away though, I ended up using half of what I was carrying. When I realized what this meant, a greater sense of freedom dawned on me.

Fear provokers, like possession, dependance and fear of loss are a product of society rather, than they are of me. When I realized this, it became easier to deal with them. Part of them not provoking feelings of fear anymore. Where in other situations, fear might still be present. In these situations though, I try to value it differently. In anyway, fear can and is allowed to always be a part of an emotion. It is up to us though, how we respond.

7 thoughts on “How Fear Influences Your Everyday Life (2)”

  1. Hey Joel! I finally managed to read a few of your Posts again – I still live this stressful 24/7 working life, as you know 😛 Really nice thoughts you have!! It is so cool to see how this traveling frees your mind and gives you the possibility to reflect because you have time for it now.
    Just one thought about this blog post: I agree that our feeling that we depend on possessions is ridiculous, and the fact that it provokes fear in most of us is sad. Respect, that you managed to partly get rid of those feelings in those situations! But as you mentioned in the last paragraph, there are certain things that I think are necessary and good to be scared about. It’s the fear that something could harm or happen to our family and friends… If we don’t care about that, then what would life even be worth?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Maren, thank you very much for your comment, and thanks for the compliments. These small compliments help me a lot!

      Then about your comment on fearing for your family. First thing I thought: amazing, best perspective ever, thank you!

      Anyway, family, boyfriend, husband, friends, the people we usually love most. The way you phrased it though, it seems like the more precious somebody is to you the more fear you have of losing them. However, what if you do not? Does that mean you care less about them? Does that make you less of a friend, girlfriend or familymember to them? And, is this fear based on “fear of loss”? Is the person you love most a possession?

      I think the essential point I am making is: do we need to fear for somebody to care about them?

      One more thing: can you imagine having a friend that fears for you because they love you so much? How would you like the behavioural interaction with you resulting out of that?

      Thanks again, and keep them coming. This comment really made me think. It seems like fear in this case is the most justified or even noble thing to feel, however is still think it is not the optimal thing to feel in any of these relationships. I would personally prefer that none of the people I love to fear for me, because I try not to either..


  2. Hey Joel 🙂
    thanks also for the comment on my comment, glad I could give you something more to reflect about!

    I also want to say something to this again: I agree that if our fear (even for loved ones) is as big that it numbs our senses or if it is unproportionally high so that it limits the other persons freedom (for example feeling the need to overprotect their child of a fearful mother) then it is contra-productive.

    Hm, good question, is fear and care necessarily related? I don’t know if in all situations… but if I care about someone, that means that I don’t want anything bad happening to them. And if I know that this person is in a dangerous position, I would most certainly be scared that more harm will come to them. So I guess it is not the fear of loosing them as a possession but because I could not stand seeing them being hurt!
    And do I want people to feel fear for me? If I were harmed or my health was in danger I actually really feel the NEED that people care for me! I know that I don’t want them to be scared to the point that they are going nuts and that it would cause a huge amount of stress to them. Maybe the better expression for this would be being worried about me? Is it selfish of me to think like that? Would you make a difference between fear and being worried?

    Also in another situation, in my opinion a certain amount of fear is useful. For example in situations that would be dangerous. Then again, fear just to this amount that it does not numb our senses so that we can still act rationally.

    The more I think about it I would like to look at fear maybe a bit like this concept of stress that we learned in school (Eustress-Distress Model, do you remember? So maybe Eufear-Disfear?). What do you think about that? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great response Maren. I think I misinterpreted you when I said you see a person you care about as a “posession”. However, I understand what you are getting at. I think being worried about somebody and/or fearing for somebody still have the same origin within ourselves. Regardless of the name we give it, I think being worried and fearing for somebody can result in the same behaviour.

    I do not think you are being selfish when you would like people to be there for you in situations where you need their help. But again, do they need to be worried/fear for you to be able to do this?

    I do believe though, it is natural to feel these feelings in certain moments. At the same time, we should be able to reflect on them so that we can decide if they are actually of use to us. Hereafter, there are probably a lot of moments we can let the feeling go totally, leaving it only for when it’s really needed?

    The Eufear-Disfear I definitely agree. Feeling fear in life threatening situations, is definitely something I want to feel.


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