Coward Us – The Paralyzing Effects of Fear


I often write about Denial. I have learned that many people who are very much afraid pretend to be very tough–again, like the Cowardly Lion.

In the above clip, the Cowardly Lion seems to be very courageous and fearless, but all of us know that in just a bit, we’ll discover that the Lion is actually a frightened pussy cat.

At one time, I believed that people who talked tough and acted tough were actually tough, but I have since learned that some of the people who talk and act the toughest are actually the most scared people of all. At times, these people might even convince themselves that they are not frightened. This is probably one of the most classic forms of Denial. But the person who is so totally afraid that he has to convince himself that he is not afraid is probably petrified–literally frozen in place.

I admit the fact that I have issues with Fear. In fact, if Fear had its way with me, I would live UNDER my bed–only tiptoeing out for food and bathroom breaks. At times, Fear becomes ominous enough that I feel it, deep inside my chest and throat. On other occasions, however, Fear  is simply there–always weighing in on every choice that I make. For instance, my anxiety about growing older and being impoverished and alone is sometimes gripping.

For instance, the fact that I am growing old and alone frightens me. I admit it. I have written about that fear several times before. The unknown about what lies ahead for me is what frightens me and makes me anxious. On my very bad days, my first thought is that I should probably end the whole thing before it gets too late. On those days, Fear is kicking my butt. Fortunately, I don’t have those days often, and I can usually finally manage to force myself to see things more objectively, but until I can do that, Fear has a blast.

Most artists and writers battle fear constantly, and if Fear is in control, the writer will edit his own words completely off the page, and the painter will erase every mark that he makes.

The more that I look around myself, I realize that we are ALL cowards: Coward US. [Get it? It’s a play on the word “cowardice.”] At this point, I have no wise antidotes for fear. Sometimes it helps to merely understand it and to simply DO, in spite of yourself and your self’s Fear. There is no need to deny that we are afraid. There is no need to put on a tough buy mask. We simply need to accept the fact that some things in life are scary and simply march.

“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.” – John Wayne

“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

©Jacki Kellum July 11, 2016

Barbara de Angelis wrote an excellent treatise on Fear:

“Imagine that you had a person in your life who followed you around twenty-four hours a day, filling you with anxiety, destroying your confidence, and discouraging you from doing the things that you wanted to do. Every time you were about to make a change or take a risk, the person would say, ‘I wouldn’t do that if I were you. What if you fail? What if you get hurt? All kinds of things might happen if you go in that direction.’ Imagine that before each conversation you had with friends, family, or loved ones, the person would pull you aside and caution you. ‘If you open up, you might get rejected. Watch what you say! Don’t trust anyone! . . .

Fear is like an emotional roommate that lives with you day and night.

“It’s your fear. Fear is like an emotional roommate that lives with you day and night. It talks to you, manipulates you, and tries to convince you to avoid doing or expressing anything that may cause you any kind of discomfort or involve any sort of risk.. It says, ‘You can’t’ . . . and ‘You shouldn’t.,’ and it eats away at your confidence and your self-esteem. It tells you not to act, not to reach out, not to try, not to trust, not to move. It steals the life right out from under you. . . .

Fear is one of your most powerful inner enemies. It is a force that can sabotage your happiness.

“Fear is one of your most powerful inner enemies. It is a force that can sabotage your happiness. How does fear do that? It keeps you stuck in what’s not working. It prevents you from growing. It keeps separation between you and other people. It talks you out of your dreams. It keeps you stagnant, frozen, unable to become all you were meant to be. . . .

.” – Barbara de Angelis – “It is fear that keeps us standing on the cliff when we know that we need to leap to the other side. But fear does more than just hold you back–it steals your aliveness, your passion, your freedom by shutting down your heart. . . .The extent to which you allow fear to control your life is the extent to which you are living as a prisoner. Secrets About Life Every Woman Should Know, [pgs. 151-53]

pogo yellow

“We have met the enemy and he is us.” – Walt Kelly and Pogo

“Fear will steal your aliveness–make your courage bigger than your fear.” – Barbara de Angelis





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