Our fears vs what we should fear

I was thinking about this last night… It seems to be a pattern – we have our fears, the things that keep us up at night or worry us during the day. But those fears are irrational. They have nothing to do with the things, if any, that we should fear.

Take my mother, for instance. She was afraid of what might happen to the cats if she let them out at night. Especially the black cat, because she couldn’t see where he went. Even in the day, she’d walk after him in the garden, calling his name and jingling her house keys. Even Josh would do that at one stage to help her, walking after the cat, calling “Sooty, Sooooty” and jingle-jangling the fucking keys.

But I let the cats out most nights in these two months since my mother died, and they’re fine. I had a scare with Sooty one weekend where he disappeared for the whole weekend, but he was back, meowing for his food on Monday morning.

My mother also feared taking sugar. I still have stacks of her sweetener in the cupboard. She should have feared smoking. No point in avoiding sugar and taking vitamins if you still smoke cigarettes. That’s about as useful as shooting yourself but wearing ear mufflers to protect your hearing.

Donald Trump seems to be afraid of brown-skinned people. Mexicans, Muslims, black people… it doesn’t matter, as long as they aren’t white they’re terrorists. Seems to be he has some legitimate reasons to be afraid, and people who aren’t white are not one of those reasons.

I had other examples, but they’re too personal, so fuck it.. Sorry. But I think the point is made.

What we fear and what we should fear are very different things. I’m not sure what you can do with this information; I have barely processed it myself. As for me, I’m considering what I feared in the nightmare (that I didn’t write about) and trying to get a better mental picture of my life and what I should rationally fear instead. I think fear can be useful, if it is rational and we respond in a healthy way, but irrational fear does nobody any good. But I do have the impression that our fears often are irrational. We grow up and grow out of our childish fear of the dark, yet our adult fears are almost without exception no more rational than our childish ones. More sophisticated, yes; rational… no.

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