Fear can be valuable. It can be a warning. It can be a teacher. It can be a motivator. All very good, unless overdone. The problem with fear is that in large or regular doses, it can be paralyzing. Once locked in place, perpetual fear becomes numbing, demoralizing, and deflating. From this has come the patriarchy skill of using fear to control.
However, Ms. Roosevelt offers us the antidote for fear, which is the simple, or not so simple, act of facing it. That’s because an interesting aspect of the human brain is its tendency to make the fear of facing something more potent than the something to be faced. As Eleanor’s husband so famously advised in his first inaugural address, “The only thing we have to fear is . . . fear itself.”
If we stop to face our fears, we overcome them. This makes overcoming fear an important way to reclaim balance because it takes away the power of those who use fear to hold patriarchal ideals and behaviors in place. Once released from the grip of fear, it becomes easier to manifest those tendencies that are true to our souls, tendencies like love, trust, and kindness toward all. And as Ms. Roosevelt advises, from this will come the courage and confidence needed to shape a new world.
Seek Balance: How often do you take the time to face your fears? Does it change the situation when you do?
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