This is a scary period. Before my time and way before your time, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt told the country, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” He was talking about the Great Depression which sent millions of people out of work. Was FDR right?
Yes and no. I say that because there are two different kinds of fear flying around right now—Fact-based fear and Fear-based fear. There really are some things that we should be afraid of, but those are also the things that we have the most control over. For example, we know that the COVID-19 virus spreads quickly and effectively in large or even small groups. But, we have the ability to avoid gatherings. We have the ability to socially distance.
Fortunately, with modern technology, avoiding crowds doesn’t mean being isolated from our friends. The Internet makes it possible to do Face-to-Face communicating on such platforms as Skype, Face Time, Zoom and others. Even if you don’t want to see your friends’ smiling faces, or you’re still in your pajamas, you can pick up the phone and do the old-fashioned phone call.
Fear-based fear is another thing entirely. This is the fear that FDR was talking about. Since fear-based fear is not grounded in reality, the ways to combat it are more elusive. Or are they? Fear-based fear swirls in our thoughts and in our emotions. It causes us to project the worst possible outcome in the future. It leads us to live in the wreckage of a future that hasn’t happened yet and probably won’t.
So, how do we minimize fear-based fear? First, we recognize it when it starts. Second, we say out loud, “That’s just fear-based fear.” Third, since you now know it’s not anything you can do anything bout, you let it go and move on. Literally, do something else, like Face Timing a friend. Sound familiar?
So, that’s where we are. The solution to both kinds of fear is to reach out. Try not to make your life any scarier than it needs to be by recognizing that most of the things you fear won’t happen. Then, Reach Out!