I have a fear of accidentally offending people. Every word I write—every blog, facebook update, email, tweet, IM—each present another opportunity to piss somebody off. As a child of the 70s and 80s I could only anger someone when I encountered them in person or on the phone. Not anymore.
I'm not constantly dripping sweat, but a lingering paranoia follows me around, and no amount of coffee, exercise, meditation, therapy, (or alcohol) will shoo it away.
This social density has forced me to break down my understanding of fear. It's not an abstract fear of toppling over someone's block tower, it's a fear that since I toppled over someone's block tower, they can now PROVE that I'm an ASSHOLE UNWORTHY OF LOVE.
The only cure is for someone to actually call me out when I offend them. I end up feeling the real pain, and I get the opportunity to sit with that pain a bit—feel it in my throat. Sure, I want to fight back, I want to kick over an extra couple stacks of blocks. Prove that THEY'RE THE ASSHOLE!
Or, I could just stay with that lump in my throat. Take a break. Find the blocks. Pick them up and stack them again. Maybe better. And then I see that the fear is just that. It's fear. It's a normal state of life. Without it, I wouldn't get to feel myself gain the courage I need to grow.