Living in a Fearful World
The world we live in is a world full of anxiety, stress, and doubt. This is not a new discovery, but it isn’t a topic that we teenagers reflect upon often. However, the truth still stands: we live in a world of fear. In fact, a while ago, my dad said this: “I’ve been alive for XX years, but this is the first time I’ve seen the world in so much fear [due to the coronavirus outbreak],” and it got me thinking.
From the very start of our lives, even before we are born, our parents are worried for our life, our health, our future. As we grow up and start making friends, we start experiencing something known as “fear of missing out.” As we mature into young adults, we start becoming anxious for our own futures. When we grow older and have families, we become stressed about our own children’s lives, their health, and their future. And on and on it goes.
Various researchers have determined that one of the factors influencing our decision making (both consciously and unconsciously), is our emotions, fear being one of the main ones. Fear can cause us to overthink, make crazy decisions, and lose options when we put off or avoid difficult decisions.
A few weeks ago, a student who studies in America flew back to the U.S. from China. Although he hadn’t been anywhere near any confirmed or suspected the coronavirus, once the news of his return was leaked to his classmates, parents started calling and insisting that the principal needed to suspend the student from school. This student’s own family members were afraid of the .001% chance of him having the virus that they thought about setting up a tent in their backyard to quarantine him, causing the principal to step in and allow the student to live in her home.
Bless the principal. Pray for the parents.
Although this problem will never be solved, there are many steps that we can take that will help us live fearlessly in a world of fear. Here are a few:
Be cautious but brave
It’s impossible to be completely fear-free, but instead of turning that fear into something negative, be cautious when needed. If you’re stressed out because of the coronavirus, for example, wash your hands often and sneeze into your elbow. Encourage your friends and family to do the same, if they don’t already. However, there is no need to wear a face mask wherever you go and discriminate against Chinese people.
You only live once, so don’t spend your whole life too afraid to do something new. Someday in the future when you look back at your life, I guarantee that at least half of your most regrettable moments have something to do with fear.
Take calculated risks
Of course I’m not telling you to do anything dumb, but wouldn’t you rather die having attempted to climb Mount Everest (with serious training) than dying with no significant achievements in your life because you were too afraid to go out of your comfort zone?
Open your eyes
Don’t be blind to other views. Listen to other people’s perspectives. And if you decide to do something about it, at least get your facts straight.
When the coronavirus first broke out, a group of Chinese (half from Shanghai, the other half from Wuhan) were in Japan, ready to board their flight back to China. They had all been in Japan for a few weeks, before the virus even broke out. However, when the Shanghainese heard the Wuhan people’s dialect, they refused to board the plane and instead demanded that the airline send another plane just for them. When people are this divided, how can they ever hope to solve the bigger problem?
No one is perfect
There is no such thing as perfect, and it’s normal to be afraid. What matters is what you will do with that fear. Will you use it to do something for the good of the world or will you turn it into something harmful to others?
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name;
you are Mine.”