Monday, November 10, 2008

Is It Fear of Falling Or Failing?


In her book, Steering By Starlight, Margaret Beck writes, "We aren't born with these negative feelings. Human infants have only two natural fears: the fear of loud noises and the fear of falling." This is an "Ah-Ha!" moment for me. Do you find it as stunning? Are you kidding me? Those are the only two fears I came with? How the hell did the rest of it all glom onto me? Who did this? And, why?

Can it be true that the entirety of the things that make me crazy and stop me from trying is acquired behavior? Imprinting us with fear starts from the beginning. We're taught to be afraid simply to keep us alive. "Hot! Don't touch!", "Don't run with scissors!!", "Stop it or your face will freeze that way!!!" We've all heard these dire warnings.

My all-time favorite was from Nanny, The World's Meanest Woman. She'd say, "If you don't listen, you have to feel!" She was right; if I'd have listened when she said, "You're gonna' get hurt," I would have saved myself some painful experiences. Despite the pain, in my head I'd be huffing, "You're not the boss of me! It's my life and I'll do what I want, so there!" Even if it scorches me a bit around the edges.

I used to have a sign in my room, "Runs with scissors!" Ah, life on the edge. Now I think, man, that's pretty dangerous! On lots of fronts I've become a wuss... What happened to that girl who would chance running with scissors? Life is lived to have experiences; to acquire first-hand knowledge. Getting hurt and failing are necessary parts of the experiment. Given that, what's the tipping point that turns the use of fear to keep us alive, into the demon that keeps us from living?

I still hate loud noises. Heights make me nervous. But, they don't keep me up at night. By Beck's meassure, no survival issues for me. Instead, the things that do make me Sleepless In Greensburg are quality of life issues that I've layered on...am I still attractive because I sure am getting older! Where's the money going to come from? Is there something wrong with me? Wonder what he really meant by that? Do I look fat in this?????!!!!!!

The idea that I'm my own worst enemy is always a tough pill to swallow. But, learning that I'm also my own Bogey Man? Oh, for heaven's sake...

I'll be pondering this one for awhile. Do you find Beck's statement as frustrating and enlightening as I do? Your thoughts and comments will be most appreciated. Check back and see what others share. More importantly, how do we proceed from here? How do we become truly intrepid? How do we remember that surviving ain't living?

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly


7 comments:

LionKing said...

HMMMMMM...I ain't askeered of nothin'! RIGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHT!!!

LionKing said...

and...there is a fine line between caution and fear...

Donna said...

You take one day at a time; the Spirit only gave you one day to ponder. My husband has been unemployed since last November, we are going on a year of living on my salary, a State Employee's salary at that...some of you laugh but we've managed. We are a strong believer in the Spirit and the world around us and we thank God everyday for another day. God bless everyone!

Lauren said...

I do not call them mistakes. I call them challenges. And I love the challenges that I have had.

melissa said...

To apply this idea to a current experience of mine, I'll add a thought from Opie, who says that he has never had a relationship that wasn't worth the potential pain it's ending may have caused him. To clarify, "It is better to have loved and lost..."

I keep trying to overcome my fears of the unknown in order to know more and find the joy in discovery. Of course, someone managed to imprint "Experience is the best teacher- OTHER PEOPLE'S experience" behind my eyelids.

I hafta be "unskeered" to have my own experiences, even if they're a little scary.

Thanks, parent-type people. :)

Holly said...

I love Opie! He's got a great out look on something as important s this. It's all a gamble to let go of what you know even if it limits you...

raindrop said...

I think a healthy balance of "Go for It" and "Responsibility" is needed. As infants we may not have learned fears but the fears our parents have for us is what keeps us safe. They assume the responsibility to keep us out of harm's way. You cannot let a baby lie with wolves. What we ourselves must guard against is letting the wolves take shelter in our own minds. If thoughts and people are not good for us then they cannot be allowed to occupy space in our heads. Katie, bar the door!

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