Fear Of The Unknown! – Positive Reflection Of The Week
Why Do We Fear The Unknown? – An Article by Shahwana
“No one is afraid of heights; they are afraid to fall. No one is afraid to play, they are afraid to lose. No one is afraid of the dark, they are afraid of what’s in it. No one is afraid to say I love you, they are afraid of the response.” – Unknown
The psychological term for fear of the unknown is “xenophobia”. In modern usage, the word has evolved to mean the fear of strangers or foreigners — but its original meaning is much broader. It includes anything or anyone that’s unfamiliar or unknown.
Sometimes life takes us to places where we have created memories of events, those events stay with us in our tiny brain, erupt in pieces when we are faced with fears, & sometimes those fears are not even genuine, but thoughts generated from the ‘what ifs’ for e.g. If I say something what will happen.
Why Do We Fear the Unknown?
Research indicates that humans have different levels of intolerance to uncertainty, a naturally developed characteristic. Individuals with high levels of intolerance to uncertainty might find unknown or uncertain situations almost unbearable or have an inability to cope, impacting their ability to function. Sometimes, a fear of the unknown can be closely related to a fear of change.
NOW, change, does that sound familiar? We humans are not happy with change. We like the cup of tea just the way it should be, we like to be in a safe zone always. This, however, in the long run, can lead to anxiety. Humans are known to be anxious when there is a red button alert called ‘change’.
One example of fear of the unknown was the Covid-19 pandemic. Back in the spring of 2020, we each got a front-row seat to the wonders of human capacity to cope with rampant uncertainty. Within weeks, people developed wild and unhinged beliefs about the virus, health care workers, their leaders and their countries.
Some rebelled and channelled their angst outward. Crime spiked. Protests raged across the world. Others turned inward. Suicides and depression reportedly skyrocketed. Anxiety ran rampant. People became burnt out and went stir crazy. Others distracted themselves. Video games, alcohol, and drugs surged. Anything to “take the edge off”. Anything to take the mind off Fear. Looking back, what’s amazing is that almost nothing said during those first few months turned out to be true. Everyone was so wrong… yet so certain. It’s ironic that we tend to grasp onto our beliefs the hardest when we are least likely to know if they are actually true. But, I will argue that is the point. The harder we cling to our beliefs and assumptions, the more we are protected from that yawning fear of the unknown.
And that’s what gets us into trouble.
“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown” ― H.P. Lovecraft, Supernatural Horror in Literature
“Many times, the thought of fear itself is greater than what it is we fear.” ― Idowu Koyenikan, Wealth for All: Living a Life of Success at the Edge of Your Ability
“Just as when we come into the world, when we die we are afraid of unknown things. But the fear is something from within us that has nothing to do with reality” ― Isabel Allende, The House of the Spirits
Shahwana Khanam – Pranic Healer