It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, much like many along Pacific Coast Highway. Pelicans glide near the surface of the ocean while gulls let out a sort of shrill encouragement nearby. Yet I’m feeling a bit uneasy as I make my way toward my dental appointment. Now, I’m no coward but I’m wondering ‘what if?’ What if this time I’ll need extensive work? It’s happened before. What if that work leaves me with a big bill? Been a while since any work was done. Am I due for a surprise?
Fear. It can stop you cold, give you what athletes call ‘jelly knees’, and steal your ability to make smart decisions. It can rob you of rational thinking and even turn you into a shadow of your real self. And all because of a perceived threat. Feeling threatened is not the same as an actual threat. But how can you tell? Do you face real danger or do you advance confidently?
Fear of uncertainty can leave you too frightened to take the path you really want to take. You can freeze at a bad time and not take to the road you must travel. It can be a helpless feeling and one that could leave you playing the victim.
Fear, real or not, can play a big part in how and if we respond and in who we become. There are countless stories of people who’ve let fear get the upper hand, even if only for a short time. That fear takes on an air of paranoia when their judgement is colored by those who are ‘out to get’ them. It’s a bit over the top but that’s the power of fear brought on only by perception.
Who are you becoming? Who is that person you call your self? My own belief is that the combination of listening to the faint inner voice and thinking rationally can turn back even a natural fear. It may require getting past the perception of whatever you’re facing. This will go a long way toward keeping you on target to living genuinely.
Oh, the dentist appointment? Got a checkup, a cleaning, and a reminder to ‘keep up the good work’.
Overheard: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
– Margaret Mead
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