Sunday, March 21, 2010

We are afraid of the wrong things

Consider the statement ‘We are afraid of the wrong things’.
Well, that would depend on what it is that you are afraid of. Personally I fear being a victim of crime, of disappointing people who are important to me and not succeeding.

Although my string of fears are perhaps the wrong things to be afraid of, fear in itself is not necessarily a bad thing. Fear keeps you cautious. Sometimes it keeps you motivated. It can even keep you safe. How would one determine a valid fear and what is the difference between the right and wrong fears? In my opinion, a valid fear is one that holds consequence. For example:

‘I’m worried that I can’t pay rent this month’ – valid fear

‘I’m scared to lose my child to this disease/virus’ – valid fear

Our fears are motivated by results. They are also motivated by our doubts. You can’t pay rent? Well then, you’ll just have to find somewhere else to live. You don’t have a deposit or the finances to do that? Well then, on the street you go. Your child or a loved one is deathly ill? You might lose him/her.

On the other hand, fears that are created out of irrational worry are often invalid fears. In some cases, people’s fears develop into phobias. Phobias, however unreasonable, can consume a person, leaving them with anxiety disorders and the inability to lead a normal life. It is my opinion that in a case such as this, most fears are invalid. For example:

Allodoxaphobia- Fear of opinions. (Well now...)

Anablephobia- Fear of looking up. (At what?)

Chromophobia or Chromatophobia- Fear of colours. (Tell that to a person robbed of his/her sight)

Deipnophobia- Fear of dining or dinner conversations. (You must be boring then – read a book)

Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia- Fear of long words. (Of course it is)

Levophobia- Fear of things to the left side of the body. (???)

Syngenesophobia- Fear of relatives. (Hmmm, perhaps this one I understand)

The point is, we could be afraid of everything everyday but where would that get us? Four padded white walls and imaginary friends (the kind that don’t carry germs and disease, don’t allow for emotional hurt, don’t expect us to push our limits... oh boy, can’t wait!)

Ultimately, however valid a fear may be, it is reasonable to consider that the world does go on. You will heal, in time. Your situation may improve, in time.

So perhaps next time we come across something that is slightly scary, something that strips us from our comfort zones, let’s put it into perspective: will this activity result in 1) my death, 2) permanent physical harm, 3) the end of the world?
If this doesn’t work, you can find comfort in the fact that you are not the worst off when it comes to being afraid. Yes, you may be overly cautious and a nervous wreck but you will work through your fear in the end. It could be worse; some people are afraid of themselves!


  1. Really well written! I like how you brought in some research about the different fears, some of them are so interesting.

  2. What a fun blog :-) Ha ha, you make me laugh. Well written and very entertaining.

  3. I don't know why I always have trouble loading my comments on your blog - its so da because I always feel so passionate after reading your posts! As always, a great read!