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A few days ago read a post where someone was talking about their fear of birds. I feel bad for them, but at the same time I think that it’s a bit of a silly fear to have. However, we all have reasons for our fears, and many times they only make sense to us. What i think is really important is learning to get over your fears.
I can understand being afraid of things that can or have hurt you. Snakes, spiders, rats, those make sense. Parakeets, mice and cows (yup, I’ve heard of someone afraid of cows), not so much. But the person may have a good reason. Maybe they had a bad experience that really affected them. The problem lies not so much in the fear or why they have it, but in the fact that many people will carry that fear for their entire lives, and sometimes it can be really detrimental.
One of the first things is, if you can, don’t develop a new fear. Bad things can happen with animals, but it doesn’t mean you need to fear them all. I’ve been bitten by dogs and cats and snakes and nearly had my eye scratched out by a cat when I was a kid. I don’t fear any of them because I know those incidents weren’t any representation of the whole species. I’ve heard of people who got trampled or injured by horses and got right back on. people have been attacked by animals and gone right back to caring for them. You can choose to develop a crippling fear or not.
If you already have a fear, try to think about it. Is it rational? If a bat got stuck in your hair, is it reasonable to fear bats? If a bird battered you with its wings, is it sensible to fear all birds? The answer is no. Sometimes thinking about your fear in a rational, analytical way can make you realize you really have nothing to fear. You can also try to work through your fears by exposing yourself to the animals you’re afraid of.
I lived in a place that became infested with roaches as a child, and I had a crippling fear of them for ages. I actually called Eric home from work one day when some got into a place we were renting. I was terrified. Since then I’ve really worked on that, and though I still hate them, I don’t have panic attacks when I see one. When I was 12 I had a nest of spiders hatch on my face and web my eyes and mouth shut while I was sleeping. I was terrified for ages. Eventually I forced myself to learn about and appreciate the beauty of spiders. Now when I see them I catch them and put them outside with little thought at all.
For a lot of animals like birds, rodents, cats, dogs and farm animals, you can just find someone who has a well-mannered animal and expose yourself to them in small doses so you can become more comfortable. Do it under controlled conditions with friend or family support, and you can most likely conquer your fear if you want to.
There’s really no reason to spend your life fearing any animal or bug. Even if you had a really horrible experience, it’s always within your power to work through it and conquer that fear. Once you do, you’ll feel much more free and confident, and that’s a whole lot better than feeling fear.