When fear is stronger than anything else, you are in trouble. When fear stops you from doing what you love, what you dream of, you are in trouble.
The problem with fear is that it leads nowhere. It holds you, makes excuses for you, tells you is not worth it. Fear is indecision, inaction, paralysis, stasis. Once it has you on its grip, is very easy for sadness to come in and hold you. Fear makes way for it, it holds you still so you can’t move and defend yourself from it. And then sadness leads to more inaction, to more feelings of worthlessness.
Sadness is the opposite of happiness, a state of eternal discontent. No matter how many happy things you are exposed to, the cloak of sadness has already covered you. Eternal discontent blurs your vision, it blocks it. You see only what it wants you to see: Your failings, your ugliness, your mistakes. The more you see these–the more you are aware of these–the more you seek to acknowledge them and correct them. This becomes an obsession. Fix these failings and these mistakes and make peace with this ugliness and then everything will be OK. But the failings, and the mistakes and the ugliness never end. You chase and chase after them and they just keep popping up, everywhere. A demented circle, looking for happiness by chasing unhappiness away. A terrible, unceasing, unending motion, all in the wrong direction.
This is not a contradiction to the paralysis of fear. This is how sadness keeps you busy so you don’t have to face your fear. This is how you avoid making the decisions that will help you make way for happiness to come in. Because ultimately, you don’t deserve the happiness, you don’t deserve to live out your dreams. So you carry on. The longer you carry on fixing this, taking care of that, seeking superficial perfection, sadness starts to morph, to transform. It becomes frustration, anger.
It tells you: “Unless you fix all these things, you don’t deserve to be happy.” But deep down you know that these are the unfixable things, that there will always be more ugliness; it is, after all, all you can see. There is no way out.
So anger comes in and all you can see now is the injustice, the terrible injustice of this situation. How will I ever have a break if all this ugliness, and all these unfixable things continue to haunt me? you say. And you reject everything: the kindness, and the love, and the warmth, and the friendships, and the peace. All of that has to wait until you reach this unreachable goal of fixing all things to perfection.
The problem with anger is that it burns. It burns you inside, and it burns all of those and all those things that are near it. The problem with anger is that it is the wrong kind of heat. Anger can be good sometimes, but not when it comes out of sadness and fear. Anger destroys everything in its path, including the hope of ever deserving anything more that the rejection and hate of those you burn with it. I burn and you burn with me so you can never come back, so you stay away from me so I can’t hurt you anymore. This is what anger does. It makes you burn with fire, so everybody fears coming near. It burns and it burns until everything on its path is blackened and dead.
A blackened landscape eventually cools down. A cool, blackened landscape is hard and fossilized. These are the remains of your heart. A cool, blackened, hard, fossilized heart. Whatever hopes you had, well, good luck. For what can grow on such a heart?
So, like a blackened landscape, you hope for rain. A drop of this, a drop of that. Like burned skin, you hope for a balm. Like a sinner, you hope for forgiveness, from the burned and from all those caught on the fire’s path.
The problem with forgiveness is that it has to come first from your own ravaged heart.