What is fear?

If you listen closely people will tell you what they are scared of, sometimes this is an irrational fear about spiders, or heights etc. Sometimes it’s fear of change, or fear of not succeeding at something. In my line of work, I speak to lots of people who are scared of life in general.

What if I were to tell you that, in actual fact, fear is nothing. It isn’t a thing at all and that it doesn’t even exist. It is merely a word, a word that has no single definition. “Yes it does" I hear you proclaim, "I am scared of XYZ” OK, if you are still convinced that fear is a thing, lets look at it this way; FEAR is nothing more than False – Expectations - Appearing - Real.

Someone is scared of heights because they have a false expectation of falling, it appears very real to them at the time, because of the unfamiliarity of being at that height etc. But it is not a realistic expectation to fall, it is false. But they feel “fear” anyway

Someone is scared of spiders because their expectation is that the Spider will attack and harm them, this – certainly in the UK with no poisonous Spiders - is a false expectation appearing real, because it has lots of legs, or they have seen a picture of one with fangs etc. But they feel the “fear” anyway.

It is part of the reason why people get paralysed when faced with decisions about change in their life. When encountering a dilemma, there can be so much fear of choosing the wrong thing, that they cannot make a choice, therefore they end up sticking with the status quo.

Herein also lies false expectation, in that the choosers’ own expectations about what to expect in the future, or what will happen once they have chosen, begin to manifest in the imagination. These manifestations of situations are neither based in the present nor based on real time objective evidence.

You can concoct an infinite amount of outcomes to any single decision, or choice. What we actually do though is tend to focus on the potential negative outcomes, as opposed to the potential positive outcomes. All of these consequences to our choice can all appear very real but are all false expectations about what might happen.

Why are they false expectations? Because there is no REAL evidence that yet exists to support the negative outcome, or that there is even a wrong choice. It is only your expectation of there even being a possibility of an incorrect choice, that then lead to you presupposing that there is one and then this begins to appear very real.

So, if you are faced with a dilemma and do find yourself feeling scared, then take a moment, acknowledge the feeling and let yourself know that these are just False Expectations Appearing Real and go for it, or as Susan Jeffers may tell you “feel the fear and do it anyway” which is also the title of her book which is worth a read.