Tuesday, May 18, 2010

On fear and simplicity

Fear makes us do stupid things. Of course, some fear is warranted, but generally what we fear is usually something that isn't really going to hurt us in a literal sense. For example, it's more likely that I'll get in a car accident, but I don't walk around panicking over the thought of being in an automobile. Instead, I fear things that are pretty inconsequential and/or harmless. I think most people are like that.

Fear makes us eat too much, buy too much stuff, lie awake at night, be mean to others, procrastinate, dump pharmaceuticals into our bodies, and have myriad health issues. We clutter our lives in order to cushion us from the stuff we fear when really, it would be much simpler to confront and deal with the fear.

In the past, when I've talked about my definition of a simple life, I've said that it involves permanent solutions or things that solve multiple problems in one step. This is what I mean. If we recognize and manage the fear, the clutter won't be necessary.

Every year around my birthday, I have this renewed sense of self. I feel like it's the beginning of...something. I never know what, and usually it's not anything big, but it's a good feeling. I've already begun feeling this way (5 more weeks to go!), and one of the primary reasons my life is more complicated than I'd like it to be is my fear. I'm feeling like this year, this milestone year, is a good time for me let go.

4 comments:

Bearette24 said...

Really interesting post that sparked all kinds of complicated reactions in me. I think you are right about fear, that it makes us act in circuitous ways to avoid it, when what we need to do is confront it. Easier said than done, I suppose :)

c.a.b. said...

I think I have to read this again to fully absorb, but me likey :)Good, good stuff.

Tracy said...

How many people know the answers when asked what they fear? I mean, other than (in my case) saying "roaches" (which is actually silly as what is a roach really going to do to me?)...

How do you figure out what really scares you? Or what is worth being scared of? (Sorry about ending on a preposition there... ; ))

Or maybe we should have no fear? But then people would do stupid things...

Domestic Kate said...

Tracy, I don't know if most people give their fears much thought. Mine interfere too much with my life, so I know the answers. Whenever I find myself not wanting to do something, I have to ask, "Is it because I really don't want to or because I'm afraid to?" That usually helps me identify it.

Also, I think that the fear that most of us experience is basically useless and ultimately inhibiting because it's preemptive. We have the ability to sense real danger and act accordingly, but most of fear events before they happen. We don't trust ourselves to deal with the issue when it happens. Sure, common sense is good--like, put on a seatbelt so you don't fly through the windshield--but common sense isn't really based on fear. I don't actually fear flying through a windshield; I just know that it isn't something I would want.