Irrational fears

An Essay By Paul // 2/1/2001

Irrational fear we all have. However, we often deny it. I think it’s one of the things that makes us human, though. Does an animal worry the way people do? Worries are usually us jumping to conclusions or exaggerating circumstances. When my dog barks out the window at the mailman, is he doing either of these? To worry the way people do, a dog would need self-consciousness and an awareness of the past and the future.

Our worries, even though they’re foolish, tell something about us . I think it never helps to just let myself sit and worry about something because the more I worry the more I stop thinking clearly and start exaggerating circumstances. If I worry about death, which we all do, then I should be firm with myself to stop worrying. But I shouldn’t be angry with myself, because that worry is, I think, telling something important about me. For example, it might be that I feel guilty about something, and I’m really worrying about going to Hell. Or I may be worrying simply because somebody I know died. Or my worrying may be telling me something spiritual , like that I’m not trusting in God’s mercy. So I think I should be firm about not worrying, but I should say to myself, yes, that’s a struggle, and it may be caused by such and such, instead of getting mad at myself about it.

When you’re little things easily frighten you. For example, my four year old sister worries when we excitedly draw attention to something. It frightens her because she doesn’t understand. It is the same with my dog. A shout of, “Look everyone!” has my dog barking, my littlest sister frightened, and everyone saying, “What?! What?!” Often, years later, I laugh at my old worries. But I think even ones that make me laugh still bring back the bitter taste of the fear because I think the worries I had then haven’t changed so much from the ones I have now, only I express them differently.
For example I still worry about the future and the past.

Maybe worries come from us not understanding and not knowing what is going to happen next. Those two things worry us, and central to it is the fact that we struggle so much to trust in God enough.

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