All over the past week, I was dealing with different cases of “fear-avoidance beahaviour” – the “shrinking” of our potential due to fear.
Not just in the narrow physical sense of the term as in “I avoid weight lifting because I have a low back pain and I might aggravate it”, but in a broader sense, by observing the effects that such a behavior can have on our ability to live fully in the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual sense.
The way I see it, fear is not identical to danger.
Danger is defined as any cause, event, state or conjuncture threatening our wellbeing or survival in the here and now. And naturally, such a possibility forces us to go into action, to deal with it successfully or unsuccessfully.
Fear, on the other hand, is the emotion caused by real or fictitious danger (based on how we -subjectively- interpret our reality). And if there is a real danger, in spite of our fear, we do whatever we can to deal with it. In the here and now.
But if the danger is fictitious, fear will only paralyse us. Because fear is independent of the present, from our reality in the here and now and our ability to cope, it is the result of a prediction that somewhere in our future there will be something unpleasant or dangerous threatening us.
And we can not manage the possibility of a threat in the present.
Our engagement with fear, however, consumes valuable creative / therapeutic energy. And it is perhaps one of the most effective methods to hinder or even sabotage our change.
I think we all agree that fear is a protective mechanism. But in the absence of danger, it is a mechanism to protect the Ego. Not the Self.