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In my earlier post, Fear is the Root of All Evil, I have written about fear as the root of all evil. After meditating this morning, I realized that fear itself is not evil. How could it be? It is a natural instinctual response that serves as a survival mechanism. If we do not experience some form of healthy fear, we might jump off mountain edges or not get out of the way of moving vehicles. However, as humans, our brains do not always differentiate between fear caused by a true life-threatening event and fear that results from feeling emotionally vulnerable. This is when fear can become maladaptive. It is this maladaptive fear that is the root of all evil.

Fear becomes maladaptive when, rather than being expressed from a place of vulnerability, it is sublimated into anger or stifled into rigidity from a place of defensiveness. When fear manifests as anger or frozen emotions, it serves as a barrier between individuals. When expressed from a place of vulnerability and openness, however, fear can be a vehicle for deeper connection and mutual understanding. In this instance, fear serves as an invitation to another to share a place of humanity. When expressed authentically, therefore, fear can be the basis of connection rather than a source of distancing.

Pay attention to your emotions. The next time you feel defensive, ask yourself what you are afraid of. Often expressing your fears directly instead of burying them is the only way to achieve the understanding and connections you desire.

 

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