There’s nothing to be frightened of | by Steph Wall

"We have all been in situations that grant us reasons to be cautious of repeats in our future but I wonder what life would be like if we just lived it."

A very intense concept has been lingering in my mind lately. It wasn't until I began studying about the brain in psychology that all the lose ends of my straggling thoughts came together. I was reading about "phantom limb syndrome" when the text book asked, "How can we feel something that's not there?" Bingo. My thoughts of fear came together.

Lately, I noticed something about myself. I stopped being afraid of things. I'm not saying I'm a big, tough, strong human that fears nothing. I won't even pretend, hell I still hate being alone in the dark. But I noticed that I haven't felt nervous, apprehensive or fearful of things coming my way. Death doesn't scare me. The future doesn't scare me. Fear of failure in any aspect of my life doesn't scare me.  Why? Well, I realised something key that goes hand in hand with "living in the moment". What we are scared of doesn't exist.

You've heard it before but here it is again; the only thing that exists is this very moment. If this is the only second we know we have, why spend it being afraid of something that might happen?

The best example I can use to explain this is relationships. I find that people, myself included, are so afraid of letting any walls down, of opening any doors, because of fear of something that could, maybe, potentially happen. Like getting hurt. Attached. Losing independence. Whatever. But here's what I realized. I was spending so much time and energy stepping away from any open doors and open hearts because of the fear or failure that I was living far from the present. I actually felt feelings and emotions for something that hadn't happened yet. Being hurt didn't exist, it didn't happen, yet I was acting like it was going to, or it already did. Like fearing a breakup when you haven't even started a relationship yet.

Now I know its rational to consider the consequences of certain things and I'm not saying it's wise to live balls blazing with no thought of the future but here's my point. How often do you actually feel the excitement of having massive amounts in your bank account when you actually don't? Or how often do you feel the excitement of falling in love with someone you aren't in a relationship with yet? Probably not that often. So why is it ok to feel scared or fearful for things that might happen in our future? If I could add up all the wasted hours of being stressed or worried about things that never actually happened, I would shake my head. Mark Twain sums it up nicely, "I have lived a long life and had many troubles, most of which never happened."  How much time have you spent worried about something that never actually happened in the end? That's my point.

So why do we chose to be afraid of things? I’m not totally sure. If I had to guess I would say it's because we like to chose the path of least resistance. Better to be afraid of something and do what we can to protect ourselves from it than to live it out and see what happens. We have all been in situations that grant us reasons to be cautious of repeats in our future but I wonder what life would be like if we just lived it. If we used the wisdom of our past to guide us to an intelligent future. I wonder what it would be like if we paid better attention to why certain people come into our lives, to the opportunities that come into our lives, to the doors that present themselves. If we chose to see the positives of the what if's  instead of the scary and let that potential out weigh what frightens us.

The key is understanding that what we are afraid of hasn't actually happened yet. There are many scary things that could happen to us at this very second but it's not. We're just sitting behind a computer reading. Therefore, there is nothing to be frightened of.