There are two kinds of fears: rational and irrational.
Rational fears are based on a real threat and serve to protect us by automatically switching us into flight, fight, or freeze mode. They help us to not be eaten by cheetahs. We wouldn’t want to rid ourselves of rational fear.
Unhealthy fear, on the other hand, limits our lives, keeps us from being fully human, fully alive, from experiencing joy and wholeness. Irrational fears adversely affect relationships and destroy institutions.
Irrational fears appear illogical. We seem to be afraid of things that there’s no reason to be afraid of. Most of us have them – fear of taking tests, of heights (even when safely planted), of flying, and so on.
Some fears are based on misinformation – fear of a proven safe vaccination, for example. If a fear is based exclusively on misinformation, it will respond to education. Once we see the data and better understand the science, we queue up for a jab.
Many of our fears, however, are not exclusively based on misinformation, nor are they in response to genuine threats. Instead, their root causes lie deep within us. The thing about irrational fears is that they are irrational. They’re not rooted in logic or objective facts.
The stronger the fear, the more likely it derives from early childhood trauma. There is a little child in all of us. If our early years felt unsafe because of some degree of neglect, emotional coldness, violence, abuse, chaos, poverty, or turmoil, we grow up with deep-seated fear.
In an unconscious effort to make sense of life, the fear may attach itself to an ideology. It may be reinforced by misinformation, but education alone won’t assuage it. We make the mistake of assuming that if the facts are simply explained, the fear will dissipate. It doesn’t.
What we need is spiritual counseling – a heart-wise guide to walk beside us as the Spirit gently enables us to remember the inner wounds and bring them into the Light where they can be healed with the balm of unconditional love.