I’ve often wondered if fear and hope are the true opposites. I learned in class (way back when) that the opposite of fear should be fearless or confident. However, as more and more fear is injected into our systems – physical and emotional – I can’t help but rethink what I was taught. Is fearless truly the opposite of fear? Or is it simply a lazy execution of an idea?
As I see mounting amounts of uncertainty and fear, and as I talk to strangers and friends, I’m wondering if the opposite of fear is actually hope. Here’s why – fear is a targeted emotion. Fear is elicited when someone or something threatens our sense of self, safety, or identity. It doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Rarely, (if ever) do people get scared or fearful of nothing and for no reason.
Often the only way to change that fear is to think what lies beyond our worst fears. I am of course speaking to the narrow spectrum of normal fears – jobs, disease, fear of loss. I say normal because the world is so big that I cannot even begin to fathom what fears exist beyond my scope of knowledge and my tiny bubble. Coming back to the discussion at hand, since we don’t truly know what lies beyond our fears, we speculate. We come up with our best-case scenarios and try to use them as a source of happiness and security. That, if you ask me (and since you are on my blog, I’m assuming you’re asking me) is hope.
Hope is our version of a best-case scenario. Hope is what alleviates fears and uncertainties. Hope is one way we can look at the ever-changing uncertain world and inflect some kind of assurance to it.
I highly recommend trying to replace fear with hope. Feel your fear, name it, and then defeat it. Not just for a false sense of security but because when we feel hopeful, we feel brave and when we are brave we feel empowered. Empowered people make the best decision for themselves.
Ultimately it’s all a perception of our minds and histories. We see the world through a lens of our pasts. But we are not bound by them. We cannot altogether get rid of them, but we can change them. We can change our fears if we can change the narrative around them. And when we change our fears into hopes, we can change the way we interact with the world and the decisions we make.
In short, we begin to change our lives.