A fear is born
Fear in itself is neither good nor bad. It is just one of our normal human emotions and without it humanity might not have survived as a species. Though just like every substance can become poisonous if taken in the wrong quantity, fear can be harmful if you have too much or too little. When our fears become so strong, that they rule over our thoughts and actions, they become a weakness; cowardice.
On the other side of the scale we find those who don’t know fear, even though they have every reason to be afraid. They often charge blindly into action, without any proper preparation. This lack of fear can be seen as another form of weakness, which goes by the name of haughtiness or pride.
Many use drugs to escape from the weakness of cowardice, only to overshoot into the other extreme.
From my experience I conclude that the only way to truly overcome the weakness of cowardice is to face our fears. Not overconfident and without preparation, but by searching for aid and equipment in advance.
A deeper understanding of the things we fear can often help us soften the anxiety. It can also be quite helpful to seek advice from someone who has overcome the same fear in the past.
When we are prepared we can start facing our fear one step at a time.
A fear is born:
When I was a child I had two encounters with dogs, which to this day influence my actions tremendously when such an animals is present. The first time I was maybe two years old and crawling down the hall facing the front door when someone opened the door and I was suddenly face to face with a barking, growling dachshund.
When I’m to believe the stories, then from this day forward my fear of dogs was born. I’m not totally convinced though because another encounter was burned way deeper into my memories.
At this second incidence my family and I were visiting some acquaintances from church. Even though I didn’t really notice or care at the time, the house and the children where a bit squalid, but even more so was the family dog.
In the afternoon all the children together with the teenage daughter, who brought the dog along, went out to a near playground. The dog was barking and growling most of the time and I think most of the children were somewhat afraid of him.
I remember sitting on the swing, when the dog forced himself out of the grip of the teenage girl and came running towards us children barking and howling.
Everyone was suddenly running in different directions screaming in fear and trying to reach a slide or climbing frame. Everyone else made it but in my panic I had run off into a direction where there was no safe haven anywhere to be seen. Regardless I tried to reach a slightly elevated wooden shelter, the only structure in sight. One look over my shoulder showed me that the dog, lacking other targets, was chasing me and even thought the fear helped me to run faster and I somehow managed to reach the shelter it bode no rescue. It was in the moment I climbed the first steps that I felt the teeth of the beast sink deep into the flesh of my shoulder.
The adrenalin and the shock made the rest a blurry haze. There are pictures in my memory of the teenage girl dragging the dog away, stumbled steps back to the house, a long drive to the doctor for a tetanus injection.
Since that day I have had a paralyzing fear of dogs. It was so bad, that I would switch from one sidewalk to the other when someone with even a tiny dog was approaching.
As a reminder I have on my back not a scar but an angry red smudge one could mistake for a birth-mark. In fact for nearly two decades I suppressed this traumatizing childhood memory and even had a dermatologist take samples from it because I didn’t know what it was. Only when I slowly started to overcome my fear did my memory return.
A great many meetings with well-trained or good natured dogs had to happen before my fear was softened. There are quite a few dogs I’ve learned to value and of some I’m sure they would have given their lives to prevent harm to their human companions.
Overcoming weakness as a way to inner strength
Despite all these meetings I haven’t fully managed to overcome this irrational fear. Every time I try to analyze the situation, visualize how I could protect myself and take on my fear with full determination.
I’m convinced that overcoming my fear allows me to strengthen and build my inner Self. Maybe it will even allow me to grow stronger than I could have been, had I never had this weakness.
I suspect most of us harbor a fear we feel might be irrational. I think it’s time we prepare ourselves and start to face them.
I’m convinced, that in doing so we can tap into a huge potential for increasing our inner strength.