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Posts Tagged ‘no fear’

Still pondering “no fear” musings I started to post on the other day. The comments I received on that post were excellent food for thought on this topic as well. Thank you friends!

I once heard somewhere that the only fear we are born with is the fear of falling, and all other fears are learned. If that is the case, what does that mean in the context of the apparent fact that so many individuals just seem to have no fear — regardless of how adults or authority figures in their world may have tried to teach boundaries or healthy fear and understanding of consequences? Is this apparent “lack of fear” simply a cost/benefit analysis situation for those individuals? Is it that many see the immediate positive consequences outweighing the pending (possible) negative consequences?

Fear: friend or foe–

It is the degree of fear perceived that lends fear to this emotion and makes it frightening. You have heard of people getting paralyzed by it, but sometimes it is this very emotion which propels others to spring to action and meet deadlines.

This emotion, like a habit good or bad, can be put to constructive or destructive use. It can both facilitate and debilitate, evoke both positive and negative reactions.

So many times my wondering leaves me with more questions than answers. I think for the most part I am fairly comfortable with those unanswered questions. A little bit of wisdom a friend shared with me sends me forth without needing to know “why” others do (or don’t do) what they do:

“Sometimes giving in (to the uncertainties, to the lack of control over situations, to the unknown) is not giving up. It is just keeping your side of the street clean.”

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Remember when these stickers were frequently appearing on cars and trucks? I don’t see them as often anymore.

On the surface it may seem like a good idea to have no fear. But what I am wondering today… is there a time and place for fear?

I’m not talking about the unhealthy fear that paralyzes and abuses people. I am not talking about fear-mongering. The kind of fear I am wondering about is the kind of fear that keeps a child from putting his hand on the hot stove burner. The kind of fear that keeps most individuals from walking out into rush-hour traffic. The kind of fear that is the beginning of wisdom. Wisdom? Hmm…

It seems to have been the case that during my work with many varied ages and backgrounds of young people in recent years, that one thing that seems to be glaringly missing is a healthy fear of any consequences. I am not that old. But I do remember when I was growing up, by and large, young people had respect for most adults in their world and a healthy fear of consequences. This does not seem to be the case these days. I have seen good quality parents at their wits end wondering how to communicate to their children the importance of boundaries and consequences. Note: consequences do not equal punishment. Every action and inaction comes with both positive and negative consequences.

What is the answer? I am not sure. Because I have seen many healthy hard working parents attempt to instill a sense of boundaries and consequences into their young people to no avail. I guess on some level, they will eventually learn their own lessons when the negative consequences eventually outweigh the short term positive rewards. Or not! (And then they would end up in one of the groups I used to facilitate, mandated by the court system.) See? No easy answers.

Although I was a pretty respectful young person, I used to bristle at the thought that “fear was the beginning of wisdom.” I continued to do so until a few years ago. On one occasion my partner attended church with me. She has a completely different spiritual background and perspective than I do. And sometimes those differences can bring clarity. Once again, the concept of “fear is the beginning of wisdom” was noted in that church setting. My partner must have seen my feathers ruffled, because she said “Yeah, I get that. I fear that if I treat you like shit you will leave me.” Hmm… suddenly it was re-framed for me.

Time to end these incomplete musings… or I fear I will be late to work! 😉

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