Your Fears are Really, Really Stupid

The Public Domain

In addition to cats, people, space lasers and cave trolls, I'm also afraid that everything around me will spontaneously burst into flames at any given time.

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.-Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear 

I spend a lot of time dreading some really, really stupid and foolish things. Almost all of that fear is completely irrational or completely uncontrollable. It can really hold you back from who you want to be if you let your fear stop you from trying new things. Fear will keep you alone, isolated and weak. It will keep you working a job you hate but are comfortable with. Fear exists for the sole purpose of slowly and steadily torturing us over the course of decades. Fear is a powerful emotion.

Fear will hold us back from our destiny.

Fear is really, really Stupid

I have a lot of social anxiety. I get nervous and anxious around people, or in certain places, or even just being outside of my home. I walk through life with a mild impending sense of dread at all times.

Why? What am I afraid of?

I honestly couldn’t answer that question on my own, so I went out into the world and sought the advice from a trained wise man: The Redneck WitchDoctor. In addition to his various duties in resurrecting ancient vehicles and blessing the whiskey still to ensure it doesn’t explode, he also serves quite well as a counselor… also he can cure your acne.

I told the Redneck WitchDoctor how I was feeling. I explained to him what was going on inside my head. He listened sagely, some times stopping to ask me questions from beneath his whiskey-holder-headdress.

When finally he coaxed a few of my true fears out of me, he turned to me and stated very clearly,

“Your fears are freakin’ dumb.”

At first I was taken aback, because to me, my fears seem perfectly valid. Then he gave me further instructions to help cure my fears,

“Get a book, or a notepad, whatever, and every time you’re feeling afraid of something, write down exactly what you’re ascared of. Then you will see how stupid your fear actually is. That is the first step to overcoming them.”

So, I have been. I’ve got a little notepad made from scrap paper, and I’ve been jotting down every fear that pops up in my mind. It has everything from, “My boss will uncharacteristically decided to actually fire someone for screwing up, and he’s going to start with me,” to “people on the internet know my name and could find out where I live.”

Well, maybe that last one isn’t as irrational, but it’s not something I can do anything about.

What fears are holding you back? Do you think they’re completely irrational, or is that just me being crazy? What do you do to try and overcome them?

4 thoughts on “Your Fears are Really, Really Stupid

  1. Canaanlilli says:

    my biggest fear is actually a odd fear of success…what if I succeed as a professional…doesn’t that mean I’ll fail in everything else??? or what if I’m a successful wife/mother/daughter/whatever…what does that mean I failed at??? They say that’s why I’m not wildly successful at anything. Just mildly successful at several things, but then I never feel like I’m good enough at anything…hence the vicious cycle of irrational fear.

    1. I know that fear. I walk around thinking, “Everything is okay right now, so inevitably I’m going to be hit by a meteor.” It’s irrational and foolish, but it’s still there.

  2. brandeewineb says:

    As I started reading this post, I was mumbling the words of the Bene Gesserit litany right along with you. I spent a whole summer reading the Dune books, and had been thinking of going back to them.

    Isn’t it funny the things that we can be afraid of? I struggle with crippling shyness in certain situations, though most people would never believe it. I fake it like nobody’s business. Some of that was directed at the internet for a long time. I’m still afraid of being judged on something that I put out there. I’m fortunate that we have created a circle of friends that is supportive and kind; but, I’m just sure that one of these days, my words will be used against me.

    The advice that you got about writing down your fear is exactly what I’m afraid of! I’m sure that someone would get hold of that, and the last thing I want to do is give someone a weapon to hold over my head.

    I applaud you for working of the things that you are afraid of. It’s never easy, and you are proving to be a good example for the rest of us!

    1. Trust me, “someone using my list of irrational fears to torture me into submission” is on my list of irrational fears.

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