People respond to fear in different ways. Some may externalize the feeling as anger and act out with aggression or blame. Some may internalize the feeling as anxiety or depression, seeking escape and distance from what they see themselves powerless over. Others (for whom ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ is not an option) may freeze, numb out, or become fixed in outright denial of the situation.
Fear can help us to survive in unfamiliar or threatening circumstances by making us more aware of the actions we need to take for our well-being. Fear can mobilize us. But it can also paralyze us. If we are destabilized too much or too often, the feeling may take over to haunt our waking lives as a constant sense of unease or impending doom. If we are stuck in this state for too long, the very biological system that was designed to ensure our well-being can turn on its head as our bodies and minds start to break down from being on alert 24/7.
If our environment or lifestyle actively feeds our fear, we may revert back to basic survival needs and focus solely on immediate and short-term concerns. If our main priority becomes seeking comfort and safety, we may resort to addictive substances and activities to soothe and calm ourselves.
8. FEAR ~ The Social Outcast
Essay by Katarzyna Vedah. March 1, 2019
If we feel too exhausted, weighed down, and unable to cope, we may inadvertently allow others to make decisions on our behalf, or be suggestible enough to trade our personal rights and freedoms for a perceived sense of security.
Caught in survival mode, it may be easy to lose sight of the bigger picture, to adopt an ‘us-versus-them’ mentality, and to rigidly hold to a particular perspective that reinforces our sense of control. Understandably, living in a hyper-vigilant state can make us intolerant to ambiguity, complexity, and the unfamiliar. And historically, people who have challenged us to explore these ‘grey zones’ of life have been feared and seen as threats or hazards to the status quo.
Throughout time, artists, philosophers, psychologists, activists, scientists and others who have challenged our fears, moved past absolutes, and questioned ‘black-and-white’ dogmatic thinking have been ignored, ridiculed, ostracized, debased, discredited, vilified or persecuted… they have been the outsiders and social outcasts among us who’ve pointed to the imbalances in our cultures and our psyches.
It takes courage to speak up when most do not want to listen, too caught up in blame, anxiety, or denial ~ too caught up in terror.
So let us take the time to unplug from a system that keeps us frozen in fear, just long enough to calm down a bit; just long enough to hear ourselves again and listen to our real needs; just long enough to be open to another perspective; and just long enough to uncover new answers and solutions to what ails us.
VIDEO (YouTube): TED Talk
DOCUMENTARY (YouTube): Trailer
CREATIVE INSPIRATIONS TO ENGAGE THE CAPACITY TO FEEL
HEALTHY MENTAL OUTLOOK & PSYCHOLOGICAL SUPPORT
THE INNER OUTSIDER
VIDEO (YouTube): School of Life
VIDEO (YouTube): TED Talk
WEBSITE: Craftivist Collective
BOOK: By Betsy Greer
PRACTICAL REINFORCEMENT FOR SELF-CARE & DAY-TO-DAY LIVING
EXPANDING PERSPECTIVES, AWARENESS & CONSCIOUSNESS