As children, fear had a very specific meaning. It signified the imagination and innocence that often led to common fears: the dark, monsters, etc. In adulthood, it became a little more complicated. Fear hid itself under different meanings, lurking around in dark corners of the mind, bring doubts and other negative aspects to a life that could otherwise be thriving and be full of positivity.
The word “fear” can hold many definitions as listed on merriam-webster.com:
- To be afraid of (something or someone)
- To expect or worry about (something bad or unpleasant)
- To be afraid and worried
A deeper meaning of “fear” is “to expect with alarm (fear the worst).” Unfortunately, after experiencing failure or rejection, some people never take any risks. Nor do they make any changes to improve their lives, choosing to live an unsatisfied life rather than to face the chance of failure, rejection, pain, and other negative outcomes.
As a parent, I have always strived to give my children a childhood even better than the one I experienced. To my amazement, they have thrived and have exhibited many more examples of success, talent, and intelligence that have far exceeded mine. It is easy to get caught up in the successes that I never experienced, to relive my childhood through theirs. However, there is a difference between healthy pride and living vicariously through them.
Books, movies, television, and other opportunities on the Internet provide many ways for people to pretend they are living a satisfied life. I know, it is easy to get lost in a storyline and to place myself in a character’s position. It’s one way that people cope with the problems and negative areas in their lives, but ignoring or pretending that one’s life is different.
Another way people live in fear is to let others control their lives rather than to cause disappointment or conflict. As a people pleaser who grew up in a house full of people pleasers, this was an easier alternative than to assert myself or to make my own choices. Of course, loved ones have been the most important aspect of my life, but denying myself only led to a life of misery.