On the fourth of July, a group of young boys thought that climbing to the top of dead-mans cliff would be a thrill they would never forget. The climb was full of narrow paths and dagger-like rocks. They had precluded that the trek up to the cliff would be their only difficulty. The eldest and most courage’s boy of the group reached the summit first. As the boy peeked over the edge into the water his heart sank. “ Is this the same cliff we had looked at from the water,” he thought to himself. Fear came over him as the other boys ran up behind him. “Jump, jump!” They shouted. He tried to speak but nothing came out. Not wanting them to think of him as a coward, he stepped toward the edge. He had jumped from a small cliff in the past and new all to well what the consequences were if he landed wrong in the water. Heart throbbing, legs shaking, skin sweating, and lungs gasping, he prepared to take the plunge.
What the boy is experiencing is called fear. Fear is an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger. In the boy’s case, the danger of not landing in the water perfectly strait could cause him bodily harm. The words dread, fright, alarm, panic, and terror, are essentially all terms that express different levels of fear. Fear is the most general term and implies anxiety and loss of courage. Everyone on the face of the earth has experienced this emotion. Different elements bring fear to peoples mind. The fear of heights played a large roll in the boy’s uncertainty in jumping. Some of the many fears people experience include: heights, death, abandonment, eternity, and ghosts.
The causes of fear that one may experience can be traced back to his earliest childhood memories. A painful experience on a bicycle may generate a fear of riding a bike for many years. A near drowning experience while learning to swim could make one fear the water for the rest of his life. When I was nine years old I saw a horror movie about clown dolls. At night the dolls would come to life and torture people. For five years after I saw that movie I would have nightmares. And still to this day I cannot sleep in a room that has a clown in it. Fear causes anticipation in ones mind and an awareness of danger. Associating a physical or mental pain with an activity or object makes one have a fear of the dangers associated with it.
There are three different types of fear: superstitious, intelligent, and uncertainty. Superstitious fear is a fear of imaginary and make-believe things. The “monsters” in the closet are a fear that young children have that is totally superficial. The television shows that a kid sees or the stories that are told to him by other siblings can cause his imagination to make up a creature that want to “get” him in his sleep. Intelligent fear is one that comes as one gets older and gains more knowledge of the world around him. A girl that carries mace with her as she walks home through a bad part of town is scared of getting raped or robbed. She is only fearful of getting raped or robbed because she has either read the newspaper or saw on the news, people who have been attach in that part of the town. The fear of uncertainty is, not knowing the outcome of ones action. The boy that was about to jump off the cliff was uncertain to whether or not he would land safely in the water. Also being uncertain of whether of not the water is deep enough plays a role in his uncertainty of the task. Fear is a natural emotion but having knowledge about ones surroundings can give enough courage to face those fears with some confidence. And that little bit of confidence is what one needs to safely overcome the challenge.
Fear is not a good feeling; there is no freedom, happiness, or admiralty in it. One can spend a lifetime trying to conquer all his fears and never triumph. However that does not mean that one should not try. I read an inspiring quote a long time ago that read “There can be no courage without fear and no success without courage. Overcoming a fear will develop courage to take on more of life’s obstacles. The boy that was debating jumping off that cliff had two options. One being that he could try warming up on a smaller jump and progressively jumping higher. Or two, He could just jump and risk personal injury. The first is the best way in overcoming ones fears. By knowing the skills on the intermediate level first, one can safely move up to the more difficult advanced trials.
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