‘Fight your fears and you’ll be in a battle forever, face your fears and you’ll be free forever’, is a quote that can elicit a response in many of us who struggle with anxiety.

While western civilisation has brought us a myriad of benefits, like free speech - including widespread use of rational argument - democracy, and rule of law, has it also put up an illusion about life and our fears?

One clinical psychologist from a western NSW town thinks so, and suggests that the rewards of the good life in our nation have worked to deceive us.

“We accustomed ourselves to comfort and predictability in our lives and remain this way until disaster strikes - be it something personal like the death of a loved one or mental breakdown, or something larger like Covid,” she told the Mudgee Phoenix. “At that point our world view changes and we learn that there is indeed uncertainty in the world, and we fight very hard to relieve the distressing feelings in our body associated with uncertainty.”

She went on to say we can do this by using substances, being distracted with technology, and trying hard to control certain aspects of our lives, such as losing weight.

“Ultimately we seek to alleviate the pain of uncertainty in any way we can,” she said. “So yes, the answer is to accept that pain and uncertainty are a part of our lives, and to seek to approach them rather than avoid them.”

Easier said than done, but scientific research published through Psycom has revealed great gains we can achieve by facing our fears. It’s natural to avoid fearful emotions, and no one would knowingly walk into a painful experience. But fear has the power to hamstring us when we become hostage to it. This
can lead us to avoiding potential stressors that may upset us, as we become engaged in endless distractions. Thus, we can hide from challenges that can lead to growth and joy.

Great news is that when you do face your fear, it can start to lose its ability to control you, and dictate your decisions, according to Psy.com.

Working things through with a good psychologist can serve us well as we battle these behemoths. Our psychologist said facing your fears is doable.

“This is hard work therapeutically, but is life changing for those with the courage to embark on the journey,” she said.

Lifeline 13 11 14.

So let's explore the validity of the claim.

“Western civilisation has created the illusion of control within us of all that is around us, and

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