Are We Addicted To Fear?

I have a friend who has conquered several addictions in her life.  It has taken much effort and courage on her part to do so.  And yet, she is still plagued by an incredible amount of fears that sometime nearly immobilize her but, more commonly, pop up just often enough to just keep her from actualizing her full potential.

Today during a phone conversation with her it dawned on me she’s addicted to fear.  It’s a strange statement to make, I know.  Why would anyone be addicted to fear?  Well, if that’s pretty much all you’ve ever known… it would be easy.

So I got to thinking how we in this country have been so conditioned with “manipulation by fear” for so long that, like my friend, we’re addicted to it.  We can‘t seem to get along without it.

After all, almost all media to which we are exposed can be summed up in the adage “Dog Bites Man” doesn’t sell.  “Man Bites Dog”…now that sells!  Why?  Because for a lot longer than I can attest to personally (hello? original sin?) we have been conditioned to respond to a negative rather than a positive.  And, like any conditioning, we’ve become used to it.  Like hanging.  Isn’t that how the saying goes? “If you hang long enough you get used to it?” Problem is, when you get used to hanging its death you’ve grow accustomed to… not life.

So it is with fear.

Whether it’s an erratic Dow Jones Industrial Average, a potential terrorist attack, a category 4 hurricane, possible flu pandemic, toxic green house gasses, or the endlessly broadcast, telecast and webcast stories of tragedy, thievery and criminality… we are hooked on being afraid.  And left unchecked, fear gets in the way of movement in a positive direction.  In fact, in the extreme, fear gets in the way of movement.  Period.

Our addiction makes us slaves… no matter how democratic and free we think we are.

What’s the answer?

Well, it’s like I told my friend today.  She kicked diet pills, gambling and smoking by going cold turkey.  Like Nancy Reagan suggested… by just saying “No.”  My friend got angry at herself each time she reached her tolerance limit because the substance controlled her.  She didn’t control it.

Now getting angry is not usually a good thing.  But when you use anger-energy to motivate your own Will to overcome that which has overrun you… then anger gets put to constructive use.  And after all, isn’t anger just another form of energy?  When used correctly, all energy can be used for the highest good.

My thinking is that a nation addicted to fear needs to go cold turkey.  But we need to start one person at a time.  So today, turn off or tune out or walk away from anything that emanates or generates fear.  Say “no” to fear and take back your life.  The alternative is slavery and death.

You’ve got a choice, you know.

It’s called Free Will.

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