The very definition of fear is vague and can encompass many faces. Of course we are all afraid of the threat of harm to varying degrees, but what happens when that threat also embraces our emotional or psychological security? Fear can impact our reasonable ability to control our emotions and sensibilities, giving way to irrational and impulsive reactions. Some act out; some become extreme introverts, while others grasp any solace they can find to quell the uncomfortable feeling of fear.
Most of the world now clings to any communication that will afford us a respite from the fear that has a strangle hold on all of us. We yearn for knowledge or understanding or mere explanation how it is possible that we symbolically fell asleep one night and woke the following day in a different world.
Fear now lives in most of our homes in some capacity, even in some where the mere concept of fear has never been identified before. Fear of harm, fear of loss, fear of the unknown, but mostly the fear of losing control of what we hold dear.
Inevitably we are social creatures that are now being told to “shelter in place”, forcing us to identify with a new reality for a time maybe forever. We are separated from some and face to face with others in close proximity.
Our perspective about routines and priorities has been altered to a point that we barely remember the mundane. We yearn for explanation and grow angry and frustrated when the science or the methodology cannot offer much. We look for the whys, the hows and the whens at every juncture. We must now ask ourselves, is our fear making us more aware or is it holding us back from growing stronger?
The fact that fear holds power over us is the one constant. It can distort some into hysterical delusions of irrational horde buying and extremism, exercising their instinctual fight or flight. Their delusional “culling of the herd” mentality prompts them to rally against authority, while for others, that same fear becomes a reality check and a call to action.
We cheer stories of heroic First Responders and survivors, but yet we continue to hold onto the fear of our vulnerability. That fear is not only of this horrible virus touching our lives, but also the change it has left each of us with in its wake. “Have a nice day” salutations have been replaced with “Be Safe”; smiles are seen through our eyes since masks now cover most of our faces. This is our new reality.
I challenge everyone to embrace your fear and find the power within it. Learn from what has happened to the world, because now it is not just the world in general, but each of us individually in very personal ways. Become stronger in your resolve to not only survive, but also to reach out and help someone else find their way too. Be kinder, be more understanding, be willing to channel your fear to accept the changes we must all face. Most of all . . . adapt as the water does. Be a part of the change that helps us create a safer place where fear can no longer survive.