Our fears don't have a founded cause

06.07.2020

Did you know? Much of our fear does not have a rational foundation, a real threat to explain it. In fact, a good part of our concerns are based on those fears that we create ourselves. We analyze it below.

Why are we afraid? Most of us would like to have a modulator button. Some mechanism with which to reduce or even eliminate fear, insecurity, anguish and those daily fears that take away our potential. Would this be possible? Could we perhaps silence this defining instinct of the human being?

The answer to these questions is simple: "no". Fear is not silenced, it is regulated. The fear that warns us of dangers and threats should not be made to disappear, we must understand it and know how to handle it in every circumstance. If it is part of our genetic code and orchestrates much of our behavior it is for a reason and we cannot block it or make it disappear completely.

To deny our emotions, after all, is to turn our backs on who we are . Because the human being is an emotional being and, let's face it, few milestones can be as rewarding as overcoming fear. Dare to lecture in front of hundreds of people, hold a spider or a snake with your hands, make an appointment with the person you are attracting, climb a mountain and challenge the fear of heights, etc. they configure challenges that help us grow and dignify us.

Fears keep us alive, but they can also teach us to be brave . Knowing what this emotion is made of and what its true purpose is can be of great help to us. Let's see it.

Why are we afraid?

With his usual wit, Woody Allen said that fear has always been his most faithful companion and that, in fact, he has never been tricked into leaving with another. That's right, ironic as it may seem, most of us have our fears as those permanent tenants in the attic of the mind who always refuse to leave. What's more, sometimes we even feed them to make them bigger.

Fear of failure, of not being loved, of failing, of disappointing others, fear of being left alone, of being betrayed ... If we stop to analyze a little the form of these fears, we will realize that they are not physical threats. We have reached a point in our human evolution where our physical survival is no longer at stake, we are no longer distressed to be attacked by a predator. Much of the fear we have is psychological.

That is, if we ask ourselves now why we are afraid and what is the purpose of this primary emotion, the answer would remain the same: you are afraid to help you survive and be able to adapt successfully to the environment around you. And this also involves detecting those events that put your self-esteem , your emotional well-being and your psychological balance at risk . Let's dig a little deeper.

The innate fears in you

Within evolutionary psychology there is a theory. It is a proposal that would explain why we are afraid of certain things, those that constitute almost as (almost) universal fears. Fear of snakes, dark spaces, spiders ... It is true that some people are fascinated by these elements, but by themselves, they have always been a cause for concern.

An explanation to this fact would be in the theory of the innate fears in the human being. According to this, we have inherited the fears that our ancestors helped them survive in their day by avoiding or managing them successfully. Integrating them into the genetic code allows us to continue acting cautiously in the face of those dimensions that in the past were real dangers.

Fears learned and conditioning

The theory of innate fears often arouses criticism and disagreement. However, that area in which many of the experts agree is in admitting that a good number of our fears are learned. What does this mean? It implies, for example, that many of our fears are the clear result of our learning and experiences.

If our parents punished us by locking us in a small and dark place, it is likely that we condition those situations and continue to experience uneasiness in those types of spaces. Likewise, if we fell as a child in a well or a dog attacked us, those experiences end up marking us for life, shaping new fears, learned fears.

The same is true of phobias . Whether they are simple (fear of thunder) or complex ( agoraphobia ), there is usually a series of conditioning factors behind them that have made us create layer by layer, a wall of fears, insecurities and anxieties capable of limiting our style in many cases. of life.

Why are we afraid? Beware of "fear of fear"

Although it is curious, it is always good to ask why we are afraid of certain things . It is a way of concretizing, focusing and even rationalizing. If I perceive that in recent months it causes me more and more anguish to go to work, it is appropriate to investigate the reasons (pressure, self-demand, negative work climate ...) Asking questions allows us to define the triggers of anxiety and, often, even rationalize the fears.

Failure to do so may lead to what is the most debilitating situation of all: fear of fear itself . Studies on the biology of fear, such as that carried out by Dr. Ralph Adolphs and published in the journal Current Biology , point out that it is the most maladaptive of all fears.

It occurs, for example, when we experience a panic attack. Little by little our true fear is to experience a similar situation again; what is more, just by remembering that situation and anticipating it, we feed the same anguish and the probability that it will happen again. Here, the mind falls into a state of absolute helplessness in which the most imprecise but distressing fear has us trapped.

Somehow, one could almost say that in these situations fear as an instinct ceases to have its true purpose: to guarantee our survival so that we can adapt to our environment. In these realities, rather than survive, we live poorly; more than adapting, we are totally lost.

To conclude, few prisons raise as many bars as those of our irrational fears. Knowing how to handle them, specify them and face them guarantees our quality of life. We cannot eliminate fear from our existence, but we can, yes, learn to live with it .

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