Cowardice. It’s not the same as just plain being afraid. Dictionary.com says “lack of courage to face danger, difficulty, opposition, pain, etc.”. Seems to me it’s about what  you do about being afraid. According to Ernest Hemingway: “Cowardice, as distinguished from panic, is almost always simply lack of ability to suspend the functioning of the imagination.” [Ernest Hemingway, “Men at War,” 1942]

Bear with me while I try to work this out in my brain.

Controlling the fear = controlling the imagination. Stopping the progression of what could happen from turning it into what would happen according to our imagination.

Don’t get me wrong….a lot of fear is very valid. It’s there for a reason and keeps us from doing something stupid. Well, most of us. I guess large amounts of alcohol dull that fear to the extent of going ahead with the stupid deed.

Right now I’m talking about the non-life-threatening-at-the-moment type of fear. The kind where  your imagination tells you all sorts of bad things will happen if you proceed. Do you weigh it out- the pros & cons of the situation? Do you just listen to the fear/imagination and avoid the situation? Do you rein in the imagination, rationalize and realize that it might not be so bad?

I’ve already imagined the worst that can happen in the situation. That’s what caused the fear. Dearest, you could be irreversibly humiliated, denigrated and socially outcast. Or it could actually turn into a situation where you’re maimed, mangled or made dead! Hold it there Mrs. Imagination! Back it up! Yes. I’m in the pool. Yes, I’m in the deep end. But… I have a life vest on and there’s no way I can drown with this baby. —-With a smile, my imagination goes in for the kill….But my dearest, you can’t touch the bottom.

What is this evil sh*t that I’m doing to myself?? I freaking KNOW in my brain that I’m not sinking. Hubs is there by me and I have the grip of an eagle on his arm. I know, I know, it was suppose to be the non-life-threatening-at-the-moment type of fear. In my ever powerful, and yes, evil imagination it is a life threatening situation. In reality, it’s not. Seriously, Hubs is a big guy. 6’1″, 300 lbs. He doesn’t have a life vest on and he’s floating. If anyone was going to sink, it should be him. Dearest, the water hates you. It’s tried to kill you before, remember?  Yeah, I remember. You never let me forget. Get a grip. Just know that I will defeat you. Every little bit of courage that I gather is to defeat you and your evil ways Mrs. Imagination. You should use your power only for good and not evil btw. Just sayin’. Oh Dearest, I’m just trying to keep you alive. It’s one of the services that I provide. 

You know, as I think about it, anxiety is the twin sister of fear. It creates the same imagined scenarios of what could happen, what might happen, sometimes into a perceived what will happen. I think anxiety attacks are when fear and anxiety are hand-in-hand with the imagination, running amok wreaking havoc on our minds. For me, anxiety is not as intense as fear. It’s more manageable. I’m anxious. I’m worried, but I can get over it faster. I think I just need to use those tools on the fear. Boost those tools up with some reality so they can hold up to the fear.

There are some things that no matter what tools I use, they won’t work. Speaking in front of a bunch of people. Nope. I did that once, a long time ago actually. But it was for like 2 or 3 minutes, which felt like an hour. The only reason I did it was because I was called out and didn’t have a chance to hide. Why is it so scary? Dearest, you know the answer to that. Everyone’s attention is on you. They’re all looking at  you, expecting you to say something intelligent. You won’t be able to say anything intelligent. You’ll bumble through and oh… remember that irreversible humiliation? Yeah. That.  Yeah. Thanks. I forgot. Ok. You win on that one. Let’s go do something creative like paint or hang pictures. Oh goody! … You know I love you, right?    *sigh*

water13

Cowardice

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