• Fear vs. Caution

    Posted by jenny-livingston on November 11, 2020 at 10:40 am

    I’ve recently been talking about Fear vs. Caution both online and with people in my home life. Throughout the course of this pandemic, I’ve heard and read the phrase “you can’t let fear control your life” more times than I can count. It seems that the belief behind these words is that taking precautions and complying with health guidelines is equivalent to “living in fear.”

    I’ve only been bothered by this when it comes from people I know and love; people who never said this to me when I previously chose to wear a mask in a crowded gymnasium or theater during cold and flu season. They didn’t think I was fearful when I stopped volunteering in my daughter’s classroom because exposure risks were too high. I’ve never been accused of letting fear control my life when I practiced distancing and masking around others with CF. Why is it that now, when I do those same things, I’m mocked for being afraid?

    The social aspects of CF have always been fascinating to me. More than physical symptoms, I really enjoy delving into the social and emotional elements and implications of this disease. Currently, the intersection of CF and COVID have created a lot to delve into. This idea of caution vs fear is something I’ve been giving a lot of thought to.

    Has this happened in your life? Have you noticed that things previously considered cautious or even smart are now considered a fear response? How are you handling these conversations if/when they arise? 

    paul-met-debbie replied 3 years, 5 months ago 1 Member · 1 Reply
  • 1 Reply
  • paul-met-debbie

    November 12, 2020 at 2:47 pm

    I have also noticed the opposite in cf-world. About 40 years ago, I remember my mother asking in the annually Dutch cf patients meeting if it was at all wise to put so many patients together in one place, considering infection risks. Her question was met with a disapproving hiss of most of the people present. But of course she was right to be cautious then, as we all know now. Things always change. Because of her cautiousness, I have never met another cf patient in my life “live”.

    One of the many balances we try to manage in life is that between fear and caution. We make our own choices and as long as we are fine with that and don’t do harm to ourselves or others, we deserve to be respected in that. As should we respect the (different) choices of others.
    In most cases it is not much use try to find out why others might not respect our choices – often they are not even consciously aware of their own reasoning. At other times their reasoning is so flawed, that “it is not even wrong” (to quote the great physicist Wolfgang Pauli: “es ist nicht einmal Falsch”), meaning it is so confused that it can’t even be reasonably discussed.

    So that would be my “handling” advise: respect (or at least accept) the choices of others and respect and guard your own choice. Agree to disagree if necessary. If people accuse you of being overly cautious or fearful, don’t go into arguments and just state that you are being yourself. Don’t always try to give reasons, follow your intuition and let people know that this is your way of doing things. You can’t fight intuition. Being cautious about real dangers is generally a wise thing. How cautious we are, is our own choice.

    Perhaps even more important (quoting myself from an earlier post) in these days are two other basic attitudes that we can practice now and should apply always:

    – Trust; not in some specific outcome, but trust in general that whatever happens, is supposed to happen and will turn out the right way – but we don’t know what the right way is. Trust your intuition. Trust is a great antidote to fear, as is:

    – Surrender. Which is closely related to the previous practice. We are not in control of anything, we only think that we can influence the grand scheme, but that is an illusion. Nature happens to us and we are also nature happening itself. Surrender gives relaxation, prevents and dissolves stress and causes innate happiness to arise. Without stress, we sleep well, optimize our immune-system and conserve and replete our energy.

    These attitudes do not contradict the previous mechanism about balancing caution and fear. They all go together very well. And together they will make us peaceful and strong at the same time.

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