Why Fear Isn’t Always Bad

Why Fear Isn’t Always Bad

Over the summer, Olympic gymnast Simone Biles withdrew from two Olympic events to focus on her well-being and mental health. The 24-year old started feeling the pressure and took time to speak to her team doctors and coaches before she made her decision.

Simone BilesIn a statement, USA Gymnastics said. “We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many.”

The pressure of expectations, the desire not to let anyone down, the fear of failing are feelings many of us have at various times in our lives. When these feelings gain momentum, they can stop us in our tracks. Biles has enough self-awareness to listen to her feelings. She knows that fear can also can be protective. It isn’t necessarily a negative emotion.

In Biles’ case, fear is what kept her from attempting extremely difficult routines when she wasn’t feeling ready. Fear may have well kept her from a permanent life-changing injury.

Young people transitioning to college from high school often have fears. Fears often make us act impulsively so it’s important to take time to consider your fears before you make any decisions. Consider carefully what your fears are and where they come from. Fears that arise come from a lack of information or a misunderstanding often can be quieted when you have the information you need. 

On the other hand, fears sparked by a lack of confidence in yourself are worth talking through with someone who knows you well and what you can do, someone you can trust, especially if you have a history of underestimating or overestimating what you can do.

“At the end of the day, we’re human, too, so we have to protect our mind and our body rather than just go out there and do what the world wants us to do,” Biles said. 

It’s good advice. Take care of yourself. Listen to yourself. And recognize that sometimes fear can protect you.

More to Explore

Anxiety And Fear: What’s Anxiety And Fear: What’s The Difference? (NAMI.org)
Five things you never knew about fear (Northwestern Medicine)
Helping your teen manage 6 common fears about the future (Understood.org)

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