“What is the point in being afraid?” (Desmond Hume, LOST)
Fear takes my life and yours; it keeps us from fully experiencing the moment we are in and transports us into the past or future.
In my guitar case is a small scrap of paper with a quote from the TV series, LOST; I have posted it above. It is there so that when fear tries to possess me before a performance I can ask myself the question, “What is the point in being afraid?” Or to emphasize it differently, “What is the point in being afraid?”
Fear is a defensive mechanism, an attempt to protect us from something. But if it is allowed to rule our hearts it will do so gladly – to our demise.
A friend of mine named Jim used to employ “self talk” each morning as he prepared for his day. One phrase he would say caught my attention years ago:
“I am safest when I am not protecting myself.”
I had to think about that one for a while. But I think it is true. When I am in protection mode I am on the defense, looking this way and that, behind and before, scanning the horizon for incoming missiles. The trouble with the protection mode is it distracts us from living and enjoying the present moments of our lives. And instead of keeping us safe, it endangers us (and others). It makes us overly cautious; we miss the proverbial “forest for the trees.”
And so I ask you, “What is the point in being afraid?” Will fear affect the outcome of your situation in a positive way? In some truly dangerous situations I think you could argue that it might, indeed. But in most situations it is nothing more than a waste of energy, and at the worst it can destroy true joy.
As Mark Twain said, “I have had many troubles in my life. But . . . most of them never happened.”
Do you tend to assume that things are probably not going to turn out well for you; or do you find yourself assuming (in most situations) that things will likely turn out just fine? It’s more than just a mental game, you know.
It’s more than just wishful thinking.
Your emotional demeanor, your psychological stance, will determine to a great degree what the outcome will be.
So . . . put your hands down (there’s no need to prepare for a boxing match). Let go of that tension that resides in your neck, your back, your stomach. And . . . breathe. If danger truly presents itself you can act on it. There will be time. Much more time, in fact, than if you are crouched, waiting to pounce on an imaginary villain.