Why do we fear the unknown?

I awoke this morning to the sound of a rumble. As I lay in bed, I pondered what it was and concluded it must have been a truck down on the highway. Although we aren’t very close to the highway, in the stillness of the morning air, sound does carry.
I got out of bed and wandered to the bathroom at the other end of the house so as not to disturb my still sleeping family. As I did, I heard the rain begin to fall quite heavily outside and then blow against the windows.
Another rumble blew my truck theory right out the window.
As I opened the curtains in our laundry and stood looking out at the flickering sky and enjoying the beauty of nature, I heard the Diva begin meowing as she dashed from place to place within the house.
At first I didn’t understand what was going on with her but then it dawned on me….. She is scared of storms.
I watched as she darted here and there with each new rumble and flash of light seeking refuge from the noisy unknown.
My attempts to calm her were in vain. Thankfully the early morning storm was short lived.
She has never quite understood storms because in her universe (that exists inside the four walls of our home), storms are not a natural occurrence.
Loud noises that accompany storms are rare in the safety of her world. Loud noises are rare in her world – full stop.
So, unfortunately when storms come, they bring strange smells, lights and noises with them and these things upset the status quo in her world.

When I was a child, I held the same fears as the Diva. Although I didn’t meow and run from room to room when there was a thunder storm, I shivered and cried. I recall being quite young and standing with my father at the french doors that led onto the patio one evening during a typical Queensland thunderstorm and watching the lightning with him. He showed me how to count between the flash of light and the ensuing rumble of thunder to work out how far away the storm was. Generally the storms were too far away to hurt me and anyway, I was safe inside the house.
Over the years, I have learned to love thunderstorms and appreciate the beauty and the ferocity of nature. They are no longer to be feared because I have learned that they are natural and an inevitable part of the weather systems. They are no longer unknown and because of that, they hold no fear for me.

Fearing what we do not know is ingrained within us. Anything different engenders within us the ‘fight or flight’ response. History is riddled with instances of bad things happening because of fear – both real and imagined.
History also shows that much good can come from those who conquered their fears and went on to do great things.
118-copy aConquering fear is not about stupidity and false bravado. Conquering fear takes faith. Faith in a higher power and faith in yourself.

As a turtle, I stuck my neck out in order to move forward. In four weeks time, my safety net will fall away and I am scared.
I am frightened of the unknown.
But I will step forward and what is unknown now will be known to me at the right time.
I refuse to let my fear of the unknown conquer me.

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40 thoughts on “Why do we fear the unknown?

  1. I never did get to like the thunderstorms in Boonah, Suz, hated them. The last one at Christmas, before we moved away later in the year, destroyed 7 homes on the valley floor, unroofed our neighbour’s house and the shock led to his death a couple of months’ later, blew up all our electrics although luckily I’d just unplugged our air-conditioners. I had just peered out and told my husband the storm would miss us – when there was a huge boom as our neighbour’s roof took off. Henceforth I’m not allowed to make any comments about storms and their directions!

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  2. Gorgeous write Suz… really timely and true – and just beautifully held together – and yes – I enjoyed reading this and it gave me a sort of peace over me too….which is WAY EPIC!! 😀

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      1. I got tapped by Don for not saying ‘you’re welcome’ when someone says, thank you, and instead saying ‘thank you’ again 😉 So: ‘You’re welcome’? 😛

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    1. Thank you.
      I wish I could tell you how many times over the past few days I have heard the word ‘brave’ mentioned about my decision. The GG just tells me that although he understands and supports me, it was sort of silly.

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  3. Good for you, Sue. I am still afraid of thunderstorms, but not so much compared to the terror of tornados since I moved to Minnesota. It’s amazing to me, by the way, how accurately the weather folks can pinpoint the location and beginning and end of watches and warnings.

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    1. I find that since we have had some very severe storms and flooding over here, the weather bureau always err on the side of caution and tell us to expect the worst of any predicted storm. I guess it covers their butt then if people say “Nobody told us”.

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  4. I don’t think I’ve ever feared thunderstorms. I realized I liked them while I was still in grade school, but maybe I feared them when I was tiny? I don’t know.
    I will say, I fear tornadoes, even though I’ve been around them and in them all my life.

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    1. I think it makes sense to fear tornadoes. Not only are they extremely dangerous, but also there is something one can do about them; i.e. get to shelter. Not that shelter is any guarantee of safety, but it certainly does help.

      In your case, this doesn’t qualify as fear of the unknown. You’ve been around them all your life, so it is fear of the known.

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  5. I believe Sue that Queensland has the best display of thunder, storms and lightning in Australia.
    I recall watching the lightning striking the ground not far from our house in Clifton, think that was the night it hit the transformer box in front of our house and blew out our TV, also recall a stray dog running into our house and hiding under our coffee table, shaking all over.
    Humans can adapt to these things but to animals they can be fearful.
    Regards
    Ian

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