The Fear of Living

The two most common fears are often thought to be the fear of public speaking and the fear of dying.  But I would like to contend that most of us in my generation have a fear of living.  We’d rather escape from life than face it.  We lose ourselves in the fantasy worlds of Dungeons & Dragons, romance novels, violent and inane video games, and in the vicarious life experience of following every move of celebrities and politicians.  We drown our painful existence in alcohol, food, prescription sedatives, meth, and casual relationships and sex.  We give up living in favor of achieving, whether it be money or power or acclaim or pleasure.

Genuine living makes most people uncomfortable.  It forces them to consider their flaws and address their insecurities honestly, two things that are very difficult to do when you are raised in a culture that tells you that you are fine just the way you are or in a counter-culture that tells you those flaws will always be there and you should take pride in them.

The only thing that can end the fear of living is a choice.  When a person makes the choice to face the reality of their existence and accept its flaws while working to change them bit by bit, they can stop the vicious cycle of futile efforts to escape from that reality and begin living more deeply and truly.  Why are so few of us making the choice to stop dying and start living if we fear death so much?

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