“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear.” I bet no person will disagree to this statement. We all have fears. Some would admit it, most prefer hiding it. The fears we have inside serve as our weakness in our times of strong points. Facing and conquering these fears is the ultimate key to eradicate these frightening feelings inside us.
To start with, what is fear? According to Encarta 2008, “fear is an unpleasant feeling of anxiety or apprehension caused by the presence or anticipation of danger”. When an individual felt a threat, he/she is having fear towards that object or situation. I remember my first conscious encounter with “fear.” it happened during my first audition in a declamation contest. I prepared for it for two weeks. I made sure that I had memorized every line and word and its corresponding actions.
On the actual contest, I was the third to present and I readied myself. After the second declaimer was called to the stage, I experienced something different. I noticed that my heart beat faster than the usual. My hands were fidgeting and sweating. I felt my stomach turning and had the feeling of throwing up.
When I was called, all I did was stood, looked at the audience and judges, and stared my piece. Sad to say, I was not able to finish my piece because I forgot most of the lines and my whole body was trembling. After the contest, my mother told me that I looked very “fearful” in the stage. I admitted it to my mother, of course. The signs and symptoms I experienced are some indicators that fear is already happening inside you.
When a person feels fearful, he/she is feeling anxious. Anxiety is an “emotional state in which people feel uneasy, apprehensive, or fearful” based on Encarta Encyclopedia 2008. Usually, people are aware of what causes their fear. For example, I would feel different whenever I came close to a high place. Some interchange the word fear and anxiety but they describe the same thing. However, fear emphasizes the want of a person to escape the situation that entails danger.
When people feel threaten by a specific object or event, it became a phobia. Phobia is defined in Encarta Encyclopedia as an “intense and persistent fear of a specific object, situation, or activity.” Phobias are further divided into three categories: simple, agoraphobia, and social phobia. Simple phobia refers to fears of specific things or situations. I have a fear of cockroaches. I screech and run away whenever I see them on streets or at home. I recalled the moments when I and cockroaches are still “friends” (you read it right). When we were still living in an apartment, a lot of cockroaches lived with us.
They even crawled on my legs but I just let them do it because it felt good and ticklish. When we moved into our new home, my mom told me that cockroaches are dirty creatures that transmit diseases. She said I should exterminate them if ever I see one. From that moment, I became scared of my “ex-friends” and tried to avoid them as much as possible. I cannot kill them using my footwear because its germs will just transfer to me and that would worsen everything! Another simple phobia I have is of heights. A third floor of any building could make my legs and shoulders tremble. This was formed when I we went to a swimming reunion. I was suddenly thrown into the pool and almost drowned because it was 6 feet high! Ever since, heights are a no-no for me.
The second kind of phobia is agoraphobia, fear of open, public places and situations. These include being in crowded places or public vehicles. I also have this. I rarely went to any huge gatherings like concerts or assembly because I feel so inferior and vulnerable. People made me consider that escaping will be very difficult. Social phobia is the third kind and usually happens to teenagers. It is when you feel foolish during social events. I have a great fear of rejection from other people.
This is the reason why I am a shy person. I do not like meeting up and chatting with people personally. Once when I was in grade school, my classmates would laugh at me when I was introducing myself to class. Ever since, I dislike and fear present myself to a crowd of people. I felt that they would stare at me and laugh at the same time. These fears greatly affected how I manage my life as a person right now.
I prefer to be alone of the most of the time. I faced my problems alone and rarely asking for help. This could be a result of having a fear to socialize to other. Then, I realized that when I kept in living inside my own shell, I will not appreciate the individuals surrounding me. They might actually help me solve my conflicts and guide me to become a better person. Trust is what I have learned by facing and conquering my fears. I never took risks in my life because I fear that I would fail and become a loser all my life. However, there are individuals who assisted me to come out of my shell and conquer my fears. I am grateful of them.
Fears made individuals imperfect. It shows the limitations of the human race. We should learn from Viktor’s story that running away from our fear would not make our lives better. The courage to confront it is an approach we can use to fight our fears. Remember, there is nothing to fear but fear itself. Courage is not the lack of fear, but the ability to face it.
Bufka, Lynn F., and Barlow, David H. “Anxiety.” Microsoft® Encarta® 2009 [DVD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation, 2008.