Avoidance vs. Bravery

Despite our best and continued efforts, there is no emotion that goes unexperienced. A tik tok persists: seek pleasure, avoid pain; seek pleasure, avoid pain. Without our own intervention, we are at the whim of chemicals and experiences—ineradicable by any flavor of obsession.

Fear is strong.

And “Don’t be afraid.” is an interesting phrase. It’s a lot like “Don’t be hungry.” when you just ate. This application of logic is a popular technique, but logic is the language of neither stomachs nor sentiment. Stomachs speak food. Fear speaks attention.

Fear and those like it are indelible. Distraction placates symptoms but to treat the cause requires confrontation. “Don’t be afraid.” is to turn a blind eye. “Don’t be afraid.” is a rejection—which a heart does not take laying down.

Fear is strong but people are stronger.

“Be brave.” is a different animal. “Be brave.” is the ability to understand that while it may not be known why a fear exists—it does. “Be brave.” feeds the growling of your heart. “Be brave.” is to stand beside a fear, acknowledge its struggle, and propose collaboration and care. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em (and this is one you sure can’t win).

Fear speaks attention. Be afraid, but then be brave.