Phony Fears and Fake Phobias

Staff Writer

There are a plethora of animals, inanimate objects and expressions that scare me. However, when I think about it, they shouldn’t. I believe that as humans we tend to create many fears within ourselves, based off of one or two bad experiences, and allow these fears to grow.
Here are some of the things that people fear most, when they really have nothing to fear.
1 – Spiders
Half of the world would rather throw themselves into the fiery pits of Mordor than deal with spiders. Just looking at spiders, I am sure everyone can agree that they are pretty terrifying. Eight legs, numerous eyes, gargantuan-looking fangs. And then on top of that, they use a paralytic venom. But honestly, almost all spider species in the world are docile and would much rather get away from destructive forces, such as humans, than fight them one-on-one.
2 – Snakes
Only the most vile of people could love snakes, right? After all, they can be as long as some trees, they look like slimy creatures from the underworld, and they can even extend their jaws to eat animals many times larger than themselves. You know what can be done when it comes to snakes? Stay out of areas where snakes are often found. Just like spiders, snakes are mostly docile creatures, and they don’t go out of their way to attack people. That is why rattlesnakes shake their tails, because they really don’t want to die at your hands, and so they are tricking you into being afraid of them. Snakes could not care less for dealing with us.
3 – Heights
Being afraid of heights is a pretty general fear, but most of the time it is not truly a fear of heights but rather a fear of falling. Falling symbolizes loss of control, and being out of power. I am personally terrified of falling off something high, but most of my time will never be spent somewhere dangerous enough to merit fear of falling.
4 – Heartbreak
We college students have probably all experienced heartbreak at least once, so I think I can say for all of us that we are scared of having our hearts broken. But while having undergone heartbreak gives us reservations at times, it also opens up plenty of new doors and opportunities that we would have never experienced otherwise. Plus, isn’t it always fun to experience new, blooming love again?
5 – Bats
Many people that are afraid of bats hold the common misconception that “bats are disgusting, flying rats.” Bats are normally associated with rabies, vampires, and other things that people aren’t particularly fond of. They attack you in the night and they get caught in your hair, right? Well, most of the time, no. People are generally out and about in the daytime, while bats are nocturnal, stick to caves, and tend to not fly toward people purposely. They could even be thought of as cool; to the best of my knowledge, they are one of only a few species of mammal that can stay airborne for an extended period of time. Even though they can be considered the terror of the night, when was the last time you were actually attacked by a bat?
6 – Horses
Horses are big animals. They stand much taller than people, so of course we have a legitimate reason to be scared of horses, just as spiders and snakes are scared of us for being bigger than they are. But the thing is, most horses nowadays are domesticated and bred for human use. They don’t run around attacking people and kicking them, and if someone is injured by a horse it is most likely a freak accident or, more often than not, because the person made the horse feel threatened. A general rule for being safe around a horse is to avoid going behind it, and to give it some sugar–and there you go, the beast is tamed.
7 – Large Vermin
Opossums, raccoons, and rats, oh my! If you’ve never heard the sheer terror people exhibit when they are startled at night by one of these creatures, you do not know how true fear sounds. But that’s honestly all that the fear stems from, a startle effect. If you notice, all of the animals mentioned are nocturnal, and generally scavenge for food when no human is around. I saw a opossum one day while walking out with the trash and was so startled that it felt as if my spirit had left my body. Although I was startled, I was not legitimately scared that something was trying to hurt me. So the next time you see a species of large vermin, just make it go away with a broom.
8 – The Dark
Darkness is usually associated with something depressing or “scary.” When I can’t see what’s in front of my face, I get panicky and nervous even when I am simply in my own room. People such as me tend to create vivid ideas of demons and monsters breathing in front of their faces, waiting to hurt them. However, that is just paranoia and fear of the unknown. Darkness is only the absence of light, and with a candle or flashlight, you can keep yourself from having a heart attack.
9 – Death
I hate going into this topic, but it is something that plenty of people fear. Death is something you will never truly experience, because you will never be aware of it. When death comes, you will not experience it consciously. So, ultimately, it is not death that people fear, but, truly, the unknown.
10 – The Unknown
This is the fear that all people with a clear grasp of reality will experience, sometimes on a daily basis. The unknown is something that all of the above-mentioned fears have in common. There are things that people have never experienced and will never try, because of the fear created by not knowing what will happen. But that’s what makes life exciting! We are the ones holding ourselves back because we create our fears. Challenge yourself, conquer your fears and enjoy your life!