Like Pulling Teeth

May 18, 2020
Stoic Stoicism Philosophy Fear Seneca

Like Pulling Teeth

I have twin daughters that are at the age when they are starting to lose their baby teeth. I’ve pulled a couple of them so far, but it is always a bit of an ordeal for them. They were barely hanging on and it was causing them some pain while eating and brushing their teeth. They had been dreading the day for about a week, but finally it was time to just pull them out.

*We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality." - Seneca

The act of pulling the tooth out takes at most five seconds, a slight bit of pain, and a little blood. However, the fear of the act, that takes much courage to overcome. That fear can be paralyzing. I sat with one of my daughters for an hour trying to help her build the courage to go through that five seconds.

We have nothing to fear, but fear itself - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Fear can creep into even the simplest of acts. I was in the habit of doing a quick morning run. I stopped a few months ago. I could give any number of excuses for that pause. Knee pain. Covid-19 lockdown order. Lack of sleep. You name it. But there was only one reason I didn’t resume. Fear. I was afraid that I had broken the momentum. Afraid that it would be difficult. I was scared to re-start.

I was more frightened than hurt. I was suffering from imagination and not reality. I finally did pull my daughter’s tooth. Both of my daughter’s on the same day actually. And I finally did start my morning runs again.

- Zach Downey

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