The Nature Of Fear Is In The Stories That You Tell

The nature of fear

What Is Fear

Fear is something that we have been taught to find distressing in the same way that happiness is something we have come to accept as a supportive positive state of mind. Both are instinctive and built in to part of us that just recognises being in that mental state.

So when we start to examine the idea of fear (or happiness come to that) the concepts instantly become tied up with the emotions and it becomes difficult to get an objective view of what is happening.

So fear could be described as an instinctive realisation that something happening now or in the future will cause damage in some way to us. I use the word us although it would perhaps be more proper to refer to us as the organism. Since thought is what goes on in our mind and the organism is the physical mechanism that we transport the mind around so that it can sample sensory input from another place.

Back to fear. Fear is born from our ability to use the imagination that we have in our mind. We imagine that something bad will happen and what starts as a rough sketch gets filled in more and more by the imagination. The more animated and excruciating the imaginary future becomes, the more fearful we become. In many ways a feature of this type of thinking is the acceptance that we have no control over it. And the lack of control just makes it worse.

So What About The Fear

So we have thoughts that are being created by the imagination that make the future look bad from a personal point of view, either physically or emotionally or both.

So, what can be done?

To put it simply and brutally we learn to accept the possibility that the fear is indicating to us.

For example if you fear dying, you have to come to terms with (or accept) that death is inevitable. However you can go further. You can make a pact with yourself to live what life you have left to its fullest. To cherish the life that you have and to do as many of the things that you feel a need to achieve before the inevitable strikes. This may not be an issue for you but imagine that for a moment, being fixated on dying, and then realising that it won’t happen in 30 seconds time and probably not in the next hour. And if you have a week left then that’s seven days to enjoy to the max. What will you do to enjoy it to the maximum, given the constraints of money, food, physical ability and everything else.

Part of living life to the max has to be recognising that no matter when death is scheduled, you will enjoy today.

That acceptance of death and thinking beyond it suddenly turned the fear in to something different. Perhaps it’s resolution. You start to resolve to do other things to celebrate the opposite of the feared outcome.

Sometimes it comes down to trust in yourself. Do you trust your own ability to deal with things.

Let’s look at this another way.

If the fear was a story, and it has a lot of story like qualities, then it starts abruptly some time in the future and then stops. Granted with death it tends to be a bit final depending on your beliefs.

There are two interesting things about fear here. One is the beliefs, the other is the rest of the story. You can change your beliefs, you can embellish the story.


If we change tack to a fear of heights for instance. The story often goes like this. I’m stood near an edge and I can feel the pull to look over and I can feel it dragging me closer and closer and I will die if I fall over the edge. That’s quite a story. What if we add some parts. On the whole I have good balance and I don’t need to go right to the edge to see what is further down, I can lay on the ground and peer over so that I won’t overbalance. And after I’ve seen over the edge I’m going to tell my friends about it on Facepage. We just changed the story, added some more possibilities and we added something after the previous end, and it was something that was tangible and possible.

One last fearful example.

I’m terrified of spiders. So what is the story? Every time I see a spider I get frightened. I panic because…

OK let’s augment the fear story. In the past I got scared when I saw spiders near me or across the room or on my clothing but I’m still here to tell the tale. I am concerned that in the future that when I see a spider I might panic again like I have in the past. I know that I will survive, because I always have survived encounters with spiders. I go on to eat, drink and laugh with my friends and family. Spiders are a nuisance in my life but I cope. And I think I can think of a few ways to cope better.

In order to deal with fear I have shown you how to recognise it as a story that you are telling. That way you can achieve some acceptance and resolution by changing the story.

What stories do you tell yourself? Perhaps one of your stories is that you can’t do it alone.

If you would like some help with fear issues you can discuss it further with me on 0793 464 0831


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