Is there really such a thing as an irrational fear? What I mean by that is … are those silly fears we laugh at really so different from what we consider to be a valid fear?
As usual, I went to my trusted resource for more information (you know, Twitter), and I asked this:
Hey kids- Tell me your most irrational fears and how you overcome them
Of course the obligatory, “I’m afraid of spiders, so I assassinate them,” and “snakes biting my booty while I use the toilet,” and “monsters are under my bed so I take a flying leap into the sack every night,” came rolling in.
Then there was the “I’m afraid of grasshoppers because those maniacs can jump 20 feet on the diagonal in .004 seconds, and who knows where they’ll land,” which made me realize that I should probably be afraid of those unpredictable long jumpers, too.
Among the silly were the more serious ones: fear of heights, fear of death, fear of the ocean, etc. Reading these made me evaluate my own fears. The main being: I am afraid of missing my son’s life because I am a busy, working single mom. The fear I have over this is nearly paralyzing, it’s so strong.
So I went to my second favorite resource: Google.
What is fear? I frantically typed.
Fear is an emotion induced by a perceived threat, which causes entities to quickly pull away from it and usually hide. Fear is frequently related to the specific behaviors of escape and avoidance, whereas anxiety is the result of threats, which are perceived to be uncontrollable or unavoidable.
What stands out to me in the above definition are the words perceived, pull away, hide, escape and avoidance. What all of this reminds me is that ALL fear is irrational. As much as I’d like to justify the anxiety I feel from my “valid” fear, I know that it’s my own irrational behavior telling me I have no control over the situation. When in reality, I do: I have complete control over all of my decisions.
As do you, monster-under-the-bed guy, snake-in-your-toilet girl and spider assassin. You are all allowing yourselves and making the choice to let these thoughts plague and frighten you.
Except the grasshopper thing. You DON’T know where or when those creepy guys are going to jump right into your cleavage, so we should probably all be wary of those freaks.
“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face … we must do that which we think we cannot.” -Eleanor Roosevelt