Embracing Our Fear

By: Jeff Mortimore, RSI Community Connector


“We are more often frightened than hurt, and we suffer more from imagination than from reality.” –Seneca

As we begin to see many states usher in the process of re-opening their economies, I can’t help but wonder about the fear and anxiety that attends this process. I see photos of crowded beaches, passengers filling planes, and patrons at bars, and I wonder if we might be moving a bit too fast. 

The anxiety and fear that we’ve had to endure the past two months has been palpable, and we are doing our best to embrace the “new normal”. But I wonder, what is the “new normal” supposed to look like? We have learned that we’ll be in a better position if we can face possible threats with a calm mind, alert to our internal signals, but we can’t be expected to anticipate every possible negative outcome. Being told to stop panicking never helps anyone, but we benefit by understanding that being overwhelmed by fear will hurt us more. Our imaginary fears harm us more than reality ever does.

We’ve adapted to this pandemic pretty well, adopting the new safe practices of wearing masks, sanitizing our world, and keeping safe distances, but the fear is still out there. For many it won’t be safe until we have vanquished the virus with a proven vaccine. Fear, however, is not the same as anxiety.  Understand that we are anxious, and it’s because we are facing an uncertain future. Hence, we create our own storyline of outcomes. The solution to this, then, isn’t worrying more—it’s doing all we can to either find clarity, or working to accept that uncertainty is part of our life. Once we’ve faced that reality, some of the shock goes away and we can then think about how to prepare for the journey ahead.


Learn more about Jeff’s work at RSI on our Community Connections page.