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How Fear keeps us safe – and imprisoned

 In Life, Blog, Environment

Fear is one of the strongest emotions.
It is the ultimate survival instinct.
Its purpose is very clear: to keep us safe from danger.

Like all emotions, it gives us feedback on what is going on in our environment, in order to help us recognise threats and protect ourselves from them.

Fear triggers some of the most powerful responses: fight, flight or freeze.

Most of these responses were highly appropriate when faced with a tiger (flight, preferably up a tree), a hyena (fight – if it is only one hyena, not a clan) or a bear (freeze – play dead).

In our modern, highly safe and sanitised world though, these responses can often be excessive, inappropriate or simply don’t work. Also, there is a choice to be made between the three reactions engendered by fear, and we don’t always get it right.

Freeze is a common response in cases of domestic violence or sexual assault – when flight or fight might be safer options.
Fight is a usual reaction when being provoked – which might get you a jail term.
Flight is often used in cases of conflict, when standing your ground might get you a better outcome.

Fear asks us to “play it safe”.
Safe was the only good option for cavemen, but in today’s world, we don’t want just to be safe, we also want to be happy, in our relationships and work.

Safe is not going to be enough. Safe is “no risk, no gain”. Safe means not changing, because it feels familiar, and “better the devil you know”, right?

Safe means not choosing the best option, but the one that doesn’t challenge us or the one that triggers us the least. Can that possibly be why we are here on this earth? To endure and defend the status quo?

In my opinion – no.
I like to think we are here to become the best version of ourself, in the limited time we have (and better start now, because we don’t know when that time runs out), as well as changing our world, be it human or environmental, for the better.

Are you ready to face your fears, to decide for yourself which ones help keep you safe, and which ones hold you back? That is one of the questions I help my clients to find their own answers for.

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