Today’s blog challenge has been pretty hard for me: What Fear Can Teach Us – Based on the TedTalks video below. I’ve been writing most of my challenge posts the night before and scheduling them to post at a particular time; but this one eluded me until now.
After much deliberation I don’t think fear teaches us – unless we’re a psychiatrist that’s psychoanalysing someone’s fears to learn something about them. In my opinion (and I’m willing to hear the reasoning of others), I think the outcome of what we fear is what shapes or teaches us. After reading on, you’ll note that I agree with what Karen Thompson Walker talked about in her video, I just would have given it a different title.
In my life I’ve learned that the outcome of circumstances that I fear are, more often than not, minor in comparison to what my imagination dreamed up (which is mentioned in the video by Karen). Of course, as Karen also said, there can be times when our reality is equal to or perhaps even worse than our fears – like hearing that our loved one who was just rushed to the hospital is in critical condition (equal) or that they just died (worse).
In my 34 years of existence, I’ve only had two fears that were worse than what I anticipated and many that weren’t worth my nervous energy at all. One of the two fears was the loss of my brother.
Losing my brother was the worst thing to ever happen to me; even worse than these migraines that cripple my way of life (I have a #8 as I type 😦 ). Consequently, the outcome of that fear taught me that the worst can and does happen. I am now anxious for the safety of my family and I cherish every moment with them; moments that before my brother passed I took for granted.
On the other hand, that outcome was only one of two that exceeded my imagination. Therefore, when I become fearful for whatever reason – a jewellery deadline that I fear I won’t meet, or the fear that a loved one’s flight might not arrive safely – I stop and remind myself that things usually work out better than what I anticipate. A view I think has been shaped by the overall outcome of my fears.
Whereas, the person whose fears are more often than not equal to or worse than what they imagined (e.g. someone living in a war zone); or perhaps the person that chooses to dwell on the outcome of the few experiences in their life when their fear became reality would’ve been “taught” to be a pessimist.
Therefore, though this is an oversimplification of what we can learn, I believe the outcome of the circumstances that we fear and/or which outcomes we choose to dwell on, can teach us to be either a pessimist or an optimist.
For more information on this blog challenge (hosted by the American Headache & Migraine Association (AHMA)), and/or to participate see more at: MHAM Blog Challenge 2014 .