What is fear? Why do we fear something? Is fear a good thing or a bad thing? Can we overcome fear? These are questions I see asked on many occasions by many people. I also notice not many people like to discuss the topic of fear. You don't see many actually talk about it. Well let's see what the dictionary has to say about it:
1.a. A feeling of agitation and anxiety caused by the presence or imminence of danger.
1.b. A state or condition marked by this feeling: living in fear.
1.2. A feeling of disquiet or apprehension: a fear of looking foolish.
1.3. Extreme reverence or awe, as toward a supreme power.
1.4. A reason for dread or apprehension: Being alone is my greatest fear.
v. feared, fearA?•ing, fears
1. To be afraid or frightened of.
2. To be uneasy or apprehensive about: feared the test results.
3. To be in awe of; revere.
4. To consider probable; expect: I fear you are wrong. I fear I have bad news for you.
5. Archaic. To feel fear within (oneself).
1. To be afraid.
2. To be uneasy or apprehensive.
So as we see there are a few different aspects to fear. If you notice many of them have to do with your own feelings or your own opinions or views. Society can place many of these fears in us, out parents can, and we can also instill these fears into ourselves. Many times it tends to be society and our parents. Our parents usually instill these fears into us without knowing it. For example my Mom is terrified of heights but she vowed to never act like she was around me and I don't recall here ever acting that way but I still ended up with a basic fear of heights. I will do roller coasters and other things where I am safely enclosed no problem. I love to fly and was working on my pilots license at one point but plan to go back to get it down the road. It's when I am not too secure like standing on a ledge of a huge cliff or in a really tall Ferris wheel that I get a little uneasy. I know I got this from my Mom unintentionally. Society can also instill fears into us for example a dark alley. Most of the time absolutely nothing will happen from walking down a dark alley but with all the stories you have heard about things happening in a dark alley or some of the many movies you have watched where something happened in a dark alley you tend to tense up right away. Now I wouldn't suggest walking down a dark alley because that is putting you in the position for something happening which I would never suggest but many times at just the site of something like that we tense up even though there is no rational reason to act tense or scarred at that moment. We do that because of what we have watched or heard from other sources.
Also be careful you are not assigning fears. A great example is when you go to the doctor as a kid. Kids love going to doctors until they get to experience their first shot. From that day forward they assign the fear of the shot to the doctor. So anytime you tell them they are going to the doctor even if they aren't receiving a shot they are still scarred because they have instilled that fear and attached it to the doctor. So when determining what your fears are in order to learn how to deal with them make sure you are seeing the base cause of that fear and not the attachment you have made with the fear.
Now a type of fear we instill into ourselves is through unease, uncertainty, and apprehension. A great example is tests. Many people get scared before a big or important test. Why do we fear them, well we want to do well on them on not fail. I won't go into too much of a soapbox on this but what if someone told you that tests have nothing to do with what you actually know. It is a matter of how you do against everyone else taking the test. Or I could tell you it's not what you know but your actually ability to compete against a clock. I could also tell you it's not what you know but your ability to reason, write, and etc. Many times when you understand more about your fear you realize there is no need for it. Also it can make you realize maybe you are not as prepared for something as you should be. I have done auditions on trumpet that I was scarred to death because I wasn't prepared and then done auditions where I was so confident because I knew my solo inside and out. Same thing with anything else, many times the fear is due to being unprepared.
Is fear a bad thing or a good thing? As the quote goes, a teaspoon of medicine will help but a spoonful will kill. It's the same here. Too much fear and you will destroy yourself. It will cause you to forget everything you have studied for a test; it will cause you to not take chances because one of your fears is involved. Maybe you were offered a trip to go somewhere to learn from someone but couldn't take it because you were scarred to fly. Fear is a part of human nature. We all have at least one thing that we are scarred of or apprehensive about. I believe some fear you can turn into adrenaline and have it work for you instead of against you. When I began performing solos on trumpet in front of audience I was terrified and that's putting it nicely. Over the years and after doing it more often I began to realize there was no need to have any of those fears. Now it's more of being nervous before a performance or a test. I look at being nervous as the lesser extent of fear. It keeps you on your toes. If you are too relaxed you might make mistakes. How many times when something was supposed to be so easy you just go right through it and end up making a bunch of mistakes. Put just a little bit of pressure on the situation to make you a little nervous and I find people perform much better. So I look at being nervous as keeping you on your toes. The extreme can destroy you but a little can help you in more ways then you might ever imagine.
The final question, can we overcome fear? This is a matter of opinion and different people will answer this differently. My opinion is that we can never total remove any given fear 100%. We more so learn how to deal with it and accept the fear. For example my fear I had when playing in front of an audience. I learned all of the causes that led to my fear. Having people hear me mess up. People are there to hear me screw up. What if I get lost in my music? What if I don't tune correct and other things like that. Most of those I realized where just ridiculous. Once I made the change in my own thinking of how ridiculous some of those fears were I didn't fear them any more. I still get nervous about missing a note hear and there but that helps keep me on my toes. I use that nervousness to give me even more energy to put into making music.
Sorry about the length. Instead I am going to be turning this into to lessons. The next one I will have up later tonight or by tomorrow. It is about the same topic but deals with the past, current time, and future