Day 10: F.E.A.R

How I felt when I walked along a 30 ft high wire 

How I felt when I walked along a 30 ft high wire 


When did fear become an acronym and when did that acronym become a definition?

Sometime ago, someone (I think it might be Neale Donald Walsch) coined the phrase ‘False Evidence Appearing Real’ which it seems has been adopted as a definition. On Sunday, I sat in a room and heard a speaker, with authority, define fear as ‘False Emotion Appearing Real. (Side bar: are our emotions false if we feel them?)


So I ask again,

When did fear become an acronym and when did that acronym become a definition?

I ask this because I hear people stating their variations on this acronymious (not a real word) theme as a fact.

I wonder how helpful it is for someone who is experiencing the fear to perceive it in that way. Without reading the original phrase in the context of how it was said or written I can’t speak to what it means and how that might help the fearee (again, not a real word),  except that you’re so preoccupied with what ‘False Evidence Appearing Real’ means that you forget to feel the fear.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines fear as

An unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain or harm

 If I were to define it I would say fear is

energy that is caused by a thought of something in the future based on an experience in the past

(a working definition).

When we are about to try something outside of our comfort zone, we project ourselves to the most negative outcome because of some experience we’ve had in the past. That creates a thought which creates uncomfortable energy in our bodies which goes on to create the emotion we call fear. The past experience may or may not be directly linked to whatever it is that we are fearful of.

For example, A few years ago, I found myself having to do a series of high wire exercises. I was scared s**tless for the whole afternoon, even though there was a safety harness. I wasn’t scared because I used to be a tightrope walker and had a terrible experience. I wasn’t scared because what I thought was about the height of a 2 story house was actually 6 foot. I was scared because I’ve fallen before, at ground level; it hurt and there was a little damage, and I don’t like falling, I don’t like the idea of physically damaging myself, I don't like pain. It was the thought of falling (based on past experience of falling) that created the energy which became fear.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying my definition is better than anyone else’s I’m just saying it helps me more to understand that  fear is a result of using past sometimes indirect experience as a basis for predicting the future. If you recognise this then you can change the thought or find ways to help you manage that thought and reduce the sense of threat. That’s not to say the fear is necessarily going to go away, it’s just a way of managing it so that it doesn’t stop you from moving forward. The next step may not be scary so take it and enjoy the confidence that comes with it. And then the next step and then the next until you find you’ve done what it was you were so scared of. And next thing you know you're on to your next challenge.

Is there something that really scares you? Do you need help moving forward? Then join my Facebook Group Every Day for 50 Days where you can get tips and ideas about how to move through your project. Click here to join the group.