blind fear

In light of recent events, the whole concept of fear has been heavy on my mind.

Because it’s overwhelmingly everywhere right now; everywhere in the media with recent tragedies and the world climate summit and acts of terrorism around the globe.

And I hear people discussing the candidates for President in 2016. I hear them, see them sharing articles on Facebook, and have noticed a lot of the arguments and sides taken are based on fear too.

Fear of having our wealth taken from us. Fear of perpetual inequality. Fear of having our guns taken from us. Fear of unfamiliar people entering our country. Fear of living in a nation holding onto hatred. Fear of a crumbling environment. Fear of change. Fear of staying the same.

I remember coming to this conclusion in my mind and thinking “I hate when politicians try to sway people to their side by making people afraid.” And I think there are certainly times when both sides of the American public, conservative and liberal, are led to become afraid of things that aren’t really constitutionally possible. But then I realized that a lot of these fears are healthy and have their purpose to protect us.

For example, in my (very humble) opinion, if we never feared global warming and other environmental issues, we could irreparably damage our Earth and make it impossible for human life. If we never feared our country being attacked, we probably wouldn’t have a military at all, and America might no longer exist. If we never feared change, maybe some of our traditions and histories could be lost along the way. If we never feared hatred or inequality, we maybe never would have made these strides toward love and acceptance of all races, religions, and sexual orientations.

Are politicians, or the media in general, leading me to be afraid of things that could never happen? Just to get a rise out of me or to make me want to follow them? After all, when a politician is telling us to fear something, he or she usually has a plan on how he or she will protect or defend us when this thing happens. Like I said, sometimes these fears are legitimate, and we should be taking preventative measures. But many other times, planting these fears in our heads is simply a ploy to get us to hop on their bandwagon.

So this has made me examine my own political leanings to consider:

What am I being led to fear? Is it irrational or is it healthy? Does this fear serve me, or can I let it go?

And really, I should spend more time asking myself these same questions beyond politics. I should be examining things in my life I’m afraid of trying and chances I’m afraid of taking. Is this a healthy fear, or am I just too comfortable or lazy to try? Most times, these fears keep me safe and therefore, happy. But sometimes they don’t allow me to move forward, and the right thing would be to step into uncharted waters and try something new.

As Socrates once said (and my grandma often tells me) “The unexamined life is not worth living.” To never once take a closer look at what we believe and why is a tragedy. So I hope to time and time again ask myself:

What am I being led to fear? Is it irrational or is it healthy? Does this fear serve me, or can I let it go?

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