Fear is a universal emotion. No one can say they have gone through life without experiencing fear. In fact, fear might be one of the first emotions, with many others, that humans feel right at the moment of birth. Since we all relate to it and surely can identify with this feeling, I thought it might be interesting to read about this topic and share some notes. So, what is fear?
My research brought me to Norberto Levy, a psychologist who specializes in this matter. According to Norberto Levy, fear is a wonderful tool and most people are highly ignorant in the way they view it. He thinks misconceptions about fear lead people to judge it as a negative emotion. There is a tendency, he says, of thinking that some people simply experience more fear than others. And that those who do, are cowards, and that those who don’t, are braver. Levy calls attention to these misconceptions. Fear should not be overlooked, fear is not something you have, nor simply a lack of bravery. Fear is viewed as a problem. And that is the problem3.
In his book, The Wisdom of Emotions, he breaks down fear and defines fear in itself to be a signal, a wonderful signal, that informs us of a disproportion between a threat that one is facing and the resources one has to overcome this threat. Every time one is faced with this disproportion, one feels fear. Without this signal, we would not be aware of danger and have no choice of reaction. If one is in a circumstance of let's say threat level 10, and resources level 3, fear will emerge. And the only way of getting rid of fear in this circumstance, is to develop resources that elevates us to the level of being able beat the threat. It is then, that fear ceases. When there is no more disproportion between resources and threat.
Furthermore, he talks about the reaction to fear. He mentions that feelings of fear are a trigger for a reaction. And this reaction often does not acknowledge the emotion and turns into neglecting fear. Levy sustains that ignoring initial fearful feelings leads to more problems. Fear is ignored and therefore, fear grows and grows. Fear, in many cases, starts out in small doses, gets suppressed, accumulates, and reveals itself when it is unbearable. It manifests in different ways, symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks, etc.
Levy encourages people to listen to their fears, and assist themselves sooner rather than later. I think this brings great insight for introspection and self understanding of emotional states one might go through. Becoming stronger from understanding our weaknesses, our fears. Becoming stronger from within, starting at the core of fear to solve our problems.
Norberto Levy https://www.scribd.com/doc/58671289/La-Dignidad-Del-Miedo-Norberto-Levy