by Kristen Sell

Some people will tell you, “The biggest fear is the fear of the unknown.” They will say this because they have not heard Teal Swan’s contradicting quote, “We do not fear the unknown. We fear what we think we know about the unknown.” This quote changed my perspective towards fear in life because it is eerily true.

Fear is an unpleasant and overwhelming emotion triggered by something that is dangerous or could cause pain. The feeling alerts us to the situation and is mandatory for survival.

Sweaty palms, dilated pupils, increased heart beat, and higher sensitivity to smells and movements are all things someone experiences when they are in fear of their life. However, when someone thinks they are afraid of something, they are actually afraid of the things they think will happen when in presence with their fear.

According to Yahoo the top 10 fears include:

  1. Agoraphobia (an anxiety disorder in which being trapped in situations that cause panic are feared)
  2. Trypophobia (fear of irregular patterns of holes or clusters)
  3. Xenophobia (the fear of people or backgrounds foreign to one’s self that is usually directed towards discomfort to different ethnicities, races, and religions)
  4. Arachnophobia (the fear of spiders)
  5. Coulrophobia (the fear of clowns)
  6. Acrophobia (the fear of heights)
  7. Emetophobia (the fear of vomit: seeing it or performing it)
  8. Claustrophobia (the fear of being in tight or enclosed spaces that are impregnable)
  9. Hydrophobia (the fear of water)
  10. Nyctophobia (an irrational fear of the night or darkness).

I asked everyone in my journalism class for their specific biggest fear(s),and received a variety of results. Although, they all shared the same base for their fear.

Here’s a list starting from the most common fears to the least common fears according to my classmates: spiders/insects, sharks/the ocean, isolation/the dark, failing, judgement, being replaced, dying, being buried alive, natural disasters, and dentists/doctors.

All these fears can be placed in the categories of the Yahoo list; natural disasters and failing are situations that cause panic, and can be seen as forms of agoraphobia. People said they are afraid of the dark, which is nyctophobia. Other people claimed that they were afraid of being buried alive, which can be put into the category of claustrophobia- the fear of being in tight or enclosed spaces that show no method of escape.
All these fears share the same foundation. One’s fear is not created because they are clueless of the matter, it goes beyond that. They are actually afraid of what they think they know about the situation to come. Their own imagination tells them what the outcome is. For example, if someone was afraid of heights, they are actually afraid of falling. If someone was afraid of the dark, they are actually afraid of what the dark inhabits. If someone was afraid of letting go, they are actually afraid of to accept the reality that it is gone. We create our own fears.

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