The only thing we have to fear

July 11, 2019

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. American President, Franklin D.

Roosevelt, coined this phrase in 1933 and it is the one that most often comes to

mind when seeking to help people towards their emotional and mental liberation. It is

a haunting phrase sure enough and there’s no doubt that it’s an easy one to use, like

so many other clichés, without thinking too much about it. So, what does it mean?

Fear is an all-pervasive emotion and, arguably, the most powerful. We may seek to

disguise it, from ourselves and others, with a host of other emotions from anger to

joy. Indeed, it may be so deep-seated in our psyche that we are unaware of it

governing our motives and opinions and the everyday, minute-to-minute actions and

thoughts that form them. Fear paralyses. We may deny it completely but that doesn’t

mean it’s not there. Perversely, the greater our denial the more likely it is that our

fear is dominating us. Because it is the fear that is inextricably linked to our survival,

possibly even our existence. At least we think it is.

 

In a previous blog, The Trauma of Living, I have written about our ‘forgotten’, original

trauma. What if that trauma, repeated and confirmed day-by-day, hour-by-hour is

that unnamed fear carried with us all the way from our earliest days; unchallenged,

taken for granted, erroneously accepted long-since as an integral part of our being

from which we can never be free? What if we are allowing ourselves to be paralysed

by fear as an excuse masquerading as a mythical reason not to change?

Of course, we should never fall into the trap of thinking the fear itself is a myth; it

couldn’t be more real. The myth is that to take the enormous risk of confronting or

embracing it will result in our disintegration, that we will not survive it. That is the

myth. Then our fear, now outdated and no longer relevant, becomes a powerful

obstacle to progress.

 

All the time it is ‘unknown’ it retains and increases its power over us: once we

become aware of it then perhaps, with support, empathy and as much time and

patience as is needed, it is true that the only thing we have to fear is. . .

 

 

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