Is fear a choice? What do you fear and why?

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Something that I have been wondering about is if you truly have a choice in fear.  In most cases I do believe you do have a choice.  I believe fear is an illusion for the most part.  If we tell ourselves that we are afraid of something before even stepping into a situation we will be afraid primarily because we have told ourselves that we are.

But what about a phobia of something that happens in real time.  I think this would fall in line with fearing the unknown. Example being somebody breaking in to your house and you dont know their intentions.  or a bug that you spot on your shoulder which once again you dont know its intentions.

So my question is how much of fear is optional?  I do believe a lot of fears like the fear of heights, or a fear of water can be conquered.   But on the other hand a lot of phobias seems to be situational and based off of the unknown.  How can you possibly prepare yourself for something like that?

How much is optional?  Or is it all an illusion?

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What's the saying.. "Danger is Real, Fear is a choice"


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I would say that initially, fear is not a choice. But if you really put your mind to it and make an effort you can overcome any fears, even phobias (though that would of course take more time), so in that sense, continuing to fear something kind of is a choice.

Only death honestly.

fear is the only time i feel alive


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Fear kinda creeps up on you, your imagination playing with you.

I've got a mild form of claustrophobia. It's not that I ever think twice about going into a small space but while reading a book where someone gets stuck underground my mind really gets going. Of course then it decides to review those passages when I try to sleep.

Fear of drowning. Again my mind playing with me. I swim a lot, freestyle stroke, head underwater, perfect time to start imagining what it would feel like to drown. Not that it stops me, just shake it off.

And I guess getting a bit older, watching grandparents die around you, you start to realize that your time will come too one day. It's not the fear of death, but of being stuck on a respirator in the hospital slowly drowning in your own fluids while not being able to move. Claustrophobia plus fear of drowning.
Then I say to myself, if something like that actually happens you're too busy coping to be panicking. Same as it's easier to be in grave pain yourself then to watch someone else go through it. My wife is the smart one, she made a pact long ago that she would be the first one to die when the time comes.

I would say neither. Fear often gets lumped in during most debates with several other human tendencies(such as sexuality, for instance) in a black and white spectrum of either "it's a choice" or "it's an inherent human trait and nothing can be done about it." Like sexuality, I don't believe it's simply one or the other. People don't choose to fear things; but at the same time, there's a lot people can do to change what it is they fear or get rid of it completely.

For example, I know someone who is deathly afraid of bugs. I don't believe she ever got out of bed one morning and thought, "Gee, from now on, I'd really like to be terrified of anything with six legs." And yet she is, nonetheless, mostly due to the way her brain functions. She never made a choice to be like that. However, if she really wanted to put the effort into it, I'm sure she could conquer said fear. Either by forcing herself to get up close and personal with them, or, if necessary, through therapy. Not that necessarily either one of those would be worth getting over the fear...but she still technically has a "choice" to overcome it.

So in the end, I don't believe the idea of fear fits into the black and white spectrum of either "completely a choice" or "completely not a choice." It's in that grey area inbetween.

Fear is a choice, some people live life carefree on certain matters while some people worry about the same matters in a whole different level. Then again it might not be a choice as some people are less fortunate...hmm. It could be either/or ;p.

As for me,

Fear of the unknown (which of course would also go with the below fear as well)
Fear of the future

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Fear isn't a choice. Is breathing a choice? Is your heartbeat by choice? No its a natural reaction that you cannot stop.

However letting that fear control you is a choice.

Anything I have ever feared I force myself to go through or be around until I am no longer afraid.

I had a fear of snakes so I owned a few as pets. No longer afraid of them
I was once afraid of heights but flying, bungie jumping, repelling, etc took that fear away from me.

Fear is a natural response of the body and nothing more.

Isn't fear a natural instinct. I don't really know if it's choice or not. I've had an obsessive fear of death, though I'm doing better now, it does come back sometimes.