How many times have you been around someone who suddenly shrieks in terror? When you ask them what’s wrong they scream, “Spider!” Why do they fear spiders so? Chances are it’s a learned behavior. It’s not the spiders, snakes, and bees we should fear. It’s not even fear itself we should fear. We should fear the ones who teach fear.
I’m like most people. If a bee starts buzzing around my head, I’ll likely shoo it away. It’s a natural response. I’m not obsessive about it. I understand that if someone has extreme allergies, they might be more concerned, but obsessive fears about anything are unhealthy.
Have you ever noticed that most people who are afraid of spiders or snakes are children of someone who fears the same things? Did you ever wonder why that is? It’s because fear is a learned behavior. We fear what we’re taught to fear.
Read this article: People Are Not Born Afraid Of Spiders And Snakes.
Some Things We’ve Been Taught To Fear
- Sexual diseases
The list goes on…
Sometimes fear is good. Healthy fear can cue us to take action in emergency situations. More often, fear is unproductive. When a parent’s fear of a spider is so extreme that they can’t properly care for their child, it becomes a problem. And what of the child? The child observes her parent’s fear response and begins to develop the same fear.
The Fear Of Spiders, Shootings: It’s Learned Behavior
Consider school shootings. Yes, they are horrible, criminal acts. But when the media focuses on each shooting in detail, it teaches us to fear the next shooting. Unfortunately, it also helps groom the next shooter.
When our leaders continually warn us of both external and internal terrorist threats, it produces fear. It’s learned behavior. The mother who’s terrified of snakes, raises a child who’s terrified of snakes. The leaders who plant fear of violence, raise a nation that both fears violence and becomes more violent.
In his First Inaugural Address, Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke these famous words:
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
Those are great and wise words. Still, there’s something even greater that we have to fear: the ones who teach and instill fear.
Change Starts With You
We each need to begin to critically consider how our own actions and reactions affect others. When we respond in fear, we teach others to fear the same things. When we teach others to fear, fear spreads like a virus. People buy toxic sprays to kill the spiders and bees. People buy guns to kill the bad guys. All because we continue to teach and spread fear.
You Have To Unlearn The Fear
So why shouldn’t we fear spiders, snakes, and bees? Because we teach our children to fear them, too. “But these are just little insignificant fears,” you protest. But little fears lead to greater fears.
Part of simple living is letting go of fear. When we face our fears, we begin to see how little we need to truly live. Many of the material goods we possess, we possess because we’re afraid to be without them. Let fear go and learn to live with less.
I’d like to help you face and overcome your fears. Here are a few other posts I’ve written about overcoming fear:
- Four Fears Are The Root To All Your Problems
- Don’t Buy Into The Fear Of Not Enough
- How To Overcome The Fear Of Losing Everything
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