Fear of What? The Fight; The Fame; or The Failed Attempt?

What is fear anyway? The Online Etymology traces it’s lineage.

Fear (n.)

“Middle English fere, from Old English fær “calamity, sudden danger, peril, sudden attack,” from Proto-Germanic *feraz “danger” (source also of Old Saxon far “ambush,” Old Norse far “harm, distress, deception,” Dutch gevaar, German Gefahr “danger”), from PIE *pēr-, a lengthened form of the verbal root *per- (3) “to try, risk.”

Sense of “state of being afraid, uneasiness caused by possible danger” developed by late 12c.

*Per- (3)

Proto-Indo-European root meaning “to try, risk,” an extended sense from root *per- (1) “forward,” via the notion of “to lead across, press forward.”

It forms all or part of: empiric; empirical; experience; experiment; expert; fear; parlous; peril; perilous; pirate.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Latin experiri “to try,” periculum “trial, risk, danger;” Greek peira “trial, attempt, experience,” empeiros “experienced;” Old Irish aire “vigilance;” Old English fær “calamity, sudden danger, peril, sudden attack,” German Gefahr “danger,” Gothic ferja “watcher.”

Modern medicine explains when we experience “fear” we also experience a “fight, flight, or freeze” response, deep down, in our gut.

That “feeling” is controlled by our “vagus nerve”, which is a main nerve bundle attaching directly our brain to our gut.

During my research I’ve found psychology information that explains fear, anxiety, and… excitement! are basically… the same thing… at least, our body doesn’t react like there is any difference.

A lion steps out and your vagus nerve kicks in.

You go to kiss a girl, especially the first time, and your vagus nerve kicks in.

You steal a candy bar and your vagus nerve kicks in.

You win your first big poker hand and your vagus nerve kicks in.

Your dad finds out… about all the gambling, girls and goings on… and that vagus nerve goes into overdrive!

And what helps to keep that vagus nerve all nerved up? Our own imagination, our own mind, making what is mostly, life’s little mole hills, into Anxious Andes Mountains!

And we can’t see a way down! AAAaaaggghhh!

I’ve discovered as an adult that I enter the world, daily, with a learned, a very learned, approach, that is actually based off of “being afraid” as a little kid.

I enter the world “looking for a fight”, not really a physical fight, but it might turn into a physical fight. I’ve learned others pick up on this. I’ve worked with some women who let me know that they felt I was “stand offish”, and when working with men, they were stand offish to me, or so I thought.

What’s the old saying, “If you only know how to use a hammer… everything else becomes a nail.”

I hadn’t matured, and wasn’t taught, the difference between fear, anxiety, and excitement!

When my vagus nerve kicks in I only have one learned response… “FEAR” = “Fight!”

I never learned how to “hoot and holler” in excitement, like when winning a football game, with other men, it made me feel funny doing that. I didn’t know how to I guess.

I have a vivid memory of this. It was during a high school football game. I sacked the quarterback. When I jumped up, a friend and teammate grabbed me by the pads and was all happy and excited for me, and us, but when I looked him in the face, his face changed, because I could tell the look on my face wasn’t what he was expecting. I didn’t “feel” the same way he was feeling.

I wanted to. I could “feel” it in my “gut” that I wasn’t the same. And by his reaction he didn’t treat me the same.

As you go through life though, the human condition forces us to adapt… most of us… adapting for the good, even if we harbor our personal anxieties deep within ourselves. With no one really knowing our inner most fears, anxiousness, or things that do excite us.

What if we can re-train ourselves to learn how to recognize that once our vagus nerve kicks in we can identify what situation we are really experiencing? Or we can identify if we are just making it up in our head??

My current fear is absolutely irrational.

I’m afraid that I will look stupid during an interview talking about my new book.

The book isn’t even finished!

And I’m fearful of success. Afraid that I might actually have to talk to somebody outside my little circle about the topic at hand.

So I do what I do best, I research, I mean… I procrastinate.

What the heck!

Through my procrastination, I mean research, I discovered something that made sense to me.

Psychology has a term, they use it when one suffers a fear of success. The term is called…

The Jonah Complex.

Do you recognize that name. Jonah. I did. I know Jonah. Jonah ran from his responsibility.

And I have recognized that I can say, “I’m afraid of success,” but what is really happening, through my research, I mean… my procrastination, is that I’m actually running from God… actually afraid of not that something bad is going to happen… but that actually… something good is going to happen!

Afraid that something good is going to happen.

What the heck!!!

As we become self aware, aware of our mind, body and spirit, we will come to a point of understanding… understanding that we only figured something out because we became sensitive to it.

I’ve learned sensitivity is actually a strength. I’ve learned that by watching horse training videos… of all things.

A horse learns everything through sensitivity… they can “feel” your thought and intent just by how you present yourself, calmly, and confidently.

I had to “apply” sensitivity to this “new” feeling of being afraid of success, and I learned, I’m not “afraid” I’m “excited”… because this is “all” new to me… I’ve never been here before… that is why my vagus nerve… and…imagination… have kicked in…

no, there are no real lions,

no physical altercation at hand,

maybe a failed attempt, but an attempt means I tried,

I think something cool is coming!

I can feel it.

As an Emerging Man myself, I have to ENCOURAGE, EQUIP & ENGAGE on a new personal level this year.

How about you?

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