A very important emotion all of us must learn to deal with is fear. No one can escape fear. In order to help you deal with it, I want to provide you with a broader and more in-depth understanding about fear. Fear, in general, is an emotion that without adequate understanding can overtake you as it does many people.

    First, let’s look at the definition of fear. Fear is defined as, “a feeling of agitation and anxiety caused by the presence or imminence of danger.”

    When you experience fear, when you feel some sort of imminent danger, you do various things to maintain a feeling of safety, protection, and control. You want to feel safe and protected at all times, and in order to do this, you have to have a level of control. Please Note: You feel safe and protected to the extent that you have control. Feeling this way and maintaining this type of behavior is a very healthy approach to life. This is more than acceptable under everyday life circumstances.

     However, it all depends upon the type of fear we’re referring to and what the circumstances are. Let me take some time here to distinguish the two types: internal and external fear.

    “Externally-based fear” originates as a result of being fearful of something that is present in your immediate surroundings outside of you. For example: you’re in the wrong part of town, it’s very late at night, and there is a realistic possibility that there may be a threat to your safety by someone or something in the immediate area. As a result, you may feel scared or anxious. This type of fear is valid. It helps you to protect yourself from danger and keep you safe. In this case, the possibility of perceived harm, or the imminent danger, originates from something outside of you, that is, from you being in the wrong part of town at the wrong time.

    On the other hand, “internally-based fear” originates as a result of being fearful of something that is present inside of you. For example: you’re at home reflecting on a past incident or life experience that you find upsetting, and in the midst of the reflection you start to feel sad, anxious, scared, afraid, or fearful. Here you are, in the comfort and privacy of your own home, and you’re experiencing fear or anxiety. How could that be? Remember, you’re at home. Based on your external environment, there is no basis for the fear or discomfort. However, this is not that type of fear. This is not externally-based fear. This is internally-based fear because the fear is originating from within you in response to something that you’re reflecting on.

    Another example of internally-based fear is waking up in the morning and simply feeling anxious or fearful. Your home is safe. What could possibly be evoking fear or anxiety for you?

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