What are you afraid of?
I want you to answer that honestly. Just say the first think that comes into your head. Got it? Good. Now let me ask you another question. Why do you choose to let yourself be afraid?
For those of you who missed my post about the ‘Mantle of the Robin’, I want to reiterate a fairly obvious point. I am a massive comic book geek. I have been in love with the mythos of the superhero since I was a small child, but where my attention is really draw to within the world of the comic multiverse is to the ‘street level’ characters. I say characters because, for a number of them, when you get right down to it, there is very little ‘heroic’ in what they do. By no means are they not heroes, just not in the truest sense of the mighty, infallible hero.Take Superman for example. Supes is your archetypal ‘hero’. Ultimately powerful, seemingly unbeatable, and a pillar of morality and ethics.
I am sure that the street level guys would have a lot to say about Superman, but I cant get a direct quote from them. They’re too busy feeding criminal scum their teeth.
There is something so raw, primal and ultimately flawed with the street level heroes that you cant help but look at them and think, “Man! You are messed up!”. Which, when you think about it, is a pretty accurate statement. Green Arrow was stranded on and island and had to fight to survive for years on end. Batman saw his parents shot in front of him. The Punisher’s entire family was gunned down. Pretty traumatic stuff huh? But back to the point at hand, what does this have to do with you and your fear? Well, with the release of the Netflix production of Daredevil, I am once again rekindling a relationship with one of my other male archetypes from my childhood. Matt Murdock, lawyer by day and protector of Hells Kitchen (a district on the lower west side of New York), is a defender of justice system ultimately at odds with his own personal brand of justice.
The thing that I loved about Daredevil was that he was ultimately just a man. A special man, but a man made special by tragic circumstance, loss, and the bitterness of hard training. This spoke to me as a child mainly because I figured that if he could do it then why not me. Obviously I wasn’t aspiring to be a man who is essentially a flawed, conflicted sociopath with good intentions and mega fighting skills, but the thought of being able to conquer any adversary not because he was gifted, not because he was special, but because he chose to.
Daredevil is known as ‘The Man without Fear’, and when I was younger I simply believed that this literally meant that he was the truest definition of fearless – and man literally devoid of the ability to feel fear. But, the more I learnt about life and the older I got, I began to realise that Daredevil felt fear. If anything I think that he is always scared, but he chooses to not allow it to manifest in his life. I think that we can all learn a lot from this concept of fear as a choice. We are told that there is so much to fear in life, but ultimately we end up being crippled by it. We have lost the ability to master our fear, which is nothing more than negative mental fidgeting.
Fear can be good. Fear can keep you sharp and aware, but if you dont master it and make the active choice to be more than the sum of all your fears then you are stuck you will be taken by it. I understand that this all sounds a little bit dramatic, but honestly ask yourselves – when was the last time fear stopped you from doing something?
Now, just to clarify, I am not talking about a sensible level of fear, i.e. not driving in a snow storm because you are afraid you might crash. I am talking about not speaking up because you are afraid that people will disagree with you. Not striking out on your own because you were afraid that you would fail. Being too scared to step in to the gym because it’s intimidating.
While they are all many different levels of fear, ultimately fear is fear, it simply wears many masks. So my message to you is this, master your fear – take risks! Get out there and don’t let fear stop you from doing the things that you want to do. The only way that you are going to to change anything in your life is if you have the strength, and the courage to make those changes and never look back!
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