This is a blurt post.
There’s stuff going on in my head that I can’t quite seem to work out. Passing snippets that have paired themselves off without quite explaining the pairing, and insights that still remain partially hidden. There is one common thread. It is the word fear.
Belly scared. Paralysed scared. Scared silly….yet not quite sure of the source (there’s so many); nor, if I’m honest, of the emotion (it’s just what I always feel).
Some people say that excitement is the flipside to fear. If this is the case, I wouldn’t recognise it as such because I have only referred to the experience with one word….
Me and fear go way back. For as long as I can remember, I have been scared. Scared of people (who might not like me, or might try and hurt me, or might be out to get me). Scared of change (which might lead to failure, or end in disappointment, or feel different from that which has come before). Scared of living, loving and losing. Scared of feeling, wanting and hoping. Scared of getting it wrong. Scared of getting it right. Scared of not being able to cope.
You get the idea.
Fear has been my default setting, or so I’d come to believe…
It might, upon reflection, be more accurate to consider that the default is the belief that I should be scared.
Seth Godin’s rooms
I said this would be random.
I was reading a post from Seth Godin’s Blog which talked about rooms and moods (and brands and lots of other interesting things). My head has decided that the post belongs with my consideration of fear. There were two sentences that stuck. The first occurs in relation to an analogy of emotions being like rooms -
“But most often, we seek emotions out, find refuge in them, just as we walk into the living room or the den.”
And the second, about the feelings evoked by experiences (again, described in terms of rooms) –
“…it’s something you choose to do, because going there takes your emotions to a place you’ve gotten used to, a place where you feel comfortable, even if it makes you unhappy.”
I wonder if I do this with fear? If I keep entering the fear room because it’s an emotion that I’ve become accustomed to; one that I am familiar with and able to define.
Seth acknowledges that we sometimes go to emotions that aren’t very comfortable and this would certainly describe fear; so, the next question in my random chain of thinking is why I would gravitate to a state that is so paralysing and has caused me such distress. Where, in other words, is the comfort, for me, in fear?
Time to get uncomfortably honest.
Maybe if I’m scared, then there’s a safety net for failing? Maybe if I build up life into a series of insurmountable challenges, I have a little get-out clause if it goes wrong? Maybe I was scared by one thing and blew it up until it took over the world? Maybe I caught the fear, like a virus, and it stuck? Maybe being scared lets me bury my head in the sand? Maybe I don’t have the emotional language to describe the feeling in any other way?
The flipside to fear
One of my dearest friends is always reminding me that excitement is the flipside to fear. The same emotional experience – just a different way of referring to it.
When I was thinking about my current fear (an imminent flat move) earlier, I felt the little flutter of potential and a gasp of energy, which might be what she was talking about…..
Only, I am also a little scared of excitement. It raises an expectation – so then you can get hurt.
Oh dear. Round we go again.
It takes longer than a couple of hours contemplation and 639 words to change a lifetime of believing that “I’m scared” –
But it takes about a second to ask whether there might be an element of choice in the experience – and whether the vocabulary actually fits.
Read the full post: The places you go