28 Jan


Fear is defined by Merriam Webster as to be afraid or apprehensive.[1]  But while we know how to define fear, where does it come from?  The question of fear and its basis is an important one.  But when I thought of it more, the answer became clear: we fear what we do not understand.

One only needs to look at countless examples from our history to see this: before the Wright brothers mastered the art of flight, flying was seen as not only an impossible endeavor, but also one that ensured death; before 1968 it was seen as ludicrous to even attempt an unconventional method for high jumping.  Then came along a man by the name of Dick Fosbury who revolutionized the high jump on the way to winning a Gold Medal.[2]  My point is that difference can lead to a lack of understanding, which begets fear.

I have experienced much of this in my own life: growing up Asian in a primarily white neighborhood led to some (but not many) misunderstandings and fear.  I played tennis growing up and was once asked by an opposing team member, “how I could possibly see the court with my slanted eyes?”  This lack of understanding is amplified now with my current condition as most who come across me are unsure what (or what not) to assume.

For you, does being told that you (or a loved one) have a ‘brain tumor’ scare you?  Perhaps it’s because all we know is that brain tumor = bad.  Maybe if we better understood them our fears would be lessened.  I remember when I received my diagnosis, I was scared; a flood of questions came to my mind: What is an Epidermoid Tumor?  How is it treated?  Does it require surgery?  How long have I had it?  I could list the countless number of questions that came to mind, but the point is not the number of questions, the point is that I was asking myself these questions, a sign of my lack of understanding, which led to my fear.

Thus, in the future, when you find yourself anxiety-ridden over an upcoming (or past) event or happening, try to turn this fear into inquisition, to broaden your understanding.  Hopefully, this will help to quell your angst.

[1] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fear

[2] https://www.dickfosbury.com/