Fear is not one of the pleasant emotions. And yet, it stays as one of the basic emotions. As much as we want to get rid of this emotion, we couldn’t.
Perhaps it’s for our own best interest, for while the emotion of fear is unpleasant, the fear itself is useful in so many ways.
1. Healthy fear is a sign of a normal human.
We humans are full of wonders, with both our capabilities and our imperfection. Fear is one of it, a sign reassuring that no matter how brave we want to go through the world, at the end of the day, we are still imperfect humans. So embrace that imperfection of yours.
2. Healthy fear is a tool to calculate risk.
Having no fear at all can cause us to be blind to the consequences of our actions. Having overwhelming, unhealthy fear would cause to not take action at all. Thus, having a healthy fear makes us calculates rationally on the risks that we are facing, and help us to be prepared for the sake risk, while in the same time gives us hope for the thing to actually succeed, thus avoiding the risk.
Thus, like I said, as much as we want to get rid of this emotion, even if somehow we can, maybe we shouldn’t. At least the healthy ones. It’s the unhealthy ones that require attention.
But how? How does one differentiate healthy fears from the unhealthy ones?What are the signs of healthy fear growing into an unhealthy ones?
1. Unhealthy fear halts your functionality.
Let’s say you’re involved in a car accident. It is expected after that, you would be extra careful in going on the road, and avoiding situations that are similar to the accident.
But it becomes unhealthy the moment when you are triggered only by the sight of the highway or the car, when you refuse to drive again forever, which will surely affect your commute and thus important aspects of your life.
I’m not condemning those who are in this situation. We’ll get to that later. And this is just an example of one aspect in our lives. I’m just conveying my main point; unhealthy fear halts your functionality.
2. Unhealthy fear causes you distress.
What does distress here means? It means that you yourself are not okay with you fearing that thing.
Let’s say you’re afraid of snakes. Now let me ask you, do you think fearing snakes is a bad thing? I would bet you’d say not. Fearing harmful animal is quite a normal human thing to do, and it helps you to avoid its danger. And it’s not like you see snakes all the time, so being vigilant from time to time during your encounter with snake is okay.
You don’t feel distressed fearing snake.
But, taking the previous example, let me ask you then; do you think fearing to drive again is a bad thing? Accidents happen, but most of the time it’s not that severe. Driving is an important aspect of our life, and without it, it would tremendously impact our life, especially before the accident your work and your life requires a lot of commute. Most importantly, I know, you don’t want to fear driving again. But you just can’t help but to feel the fear.
That is what I meant by distressed.
Maybe after reading up until here, you would recognize that you have a few unhealthy fears on your own, thus feeling something like, “Aw man, I shouldn’t have this fear! Why am I so weak?”
So, before wrapping this up, let me clarify that having unhealthy fear does not mean you are a weak person. This article is made not for you to ruminate all over yourself, but to know yourself better and thus take appropriate measures accordingly.
Now, if you yourself identified that you have unhealthy fear, you can work your way out of it. For example, you can meet a counselor and talk about it, and he/she would carve an exit plan for you.
To end this, remember that the emotion of fear is a part of what made you a human. If a little extra fear throws you out of control, plan out to take control back. Other than that, you’re all good!