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In this post, I have resolved not to use the word “very”, as I heard this quote by John Keating awhile back:

So avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose.

I often wonder what kind of a place fear has in my life. It’s easy for me to observe it in other people and to see how it affects their actions, but I’m afraid that I don’t see my own fear clearly. It’s much easier to watch other people make choices.

For instance, in the community I grew up in, many people opted out of doing activities for various reasons. Many people chose not to do sleepovers or watch certain movies. People schooled their children at home. While there were valid reasons at play, such as potential for gossip and frivolous talk, desensitization, or corruption, I wonder how much of it was motivated by fear.

I think it is a tendency for humans to pull back when they’re afraid. Some of that is a healthy danger reflex at work, but some of that is simply allowing fear to control decisions. It’s not productive for me to judge the degree that others are allowing fear to control their lives, although many times I do this anyway. I can use these examples as a springboard for examining my own life for this sin.

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

-Frank Herbert

Fear masks who we truly are and prevents us from making educated, sensible decisions. Once it’s stripped away, we can see ourselves more clearly. I think I’ll start to look for fears in my own life, because I know that they’re there somewhere, lurking.