There is a German proverb that goes, “Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is”. When something earth-shattering occurs, we usually panic as part of a natural reaction. Yet, how much of the fear response is truly befitting of the situation? As humans, we are blessed with the power of imagination and foresight, but this can easily become a curse if not mindfully managed. For instance, we could be overthinking the issue totally out of proportion. Perhaps it’s worth taking a step back sometimes and reflecting on whether we are making mountains out of molehills.
Before we dissect this phenomenon, I’d like to talk a bit about perception. Perception is the lens that we see the world through and varies greatly from person to person. Two people that witness the same spectacle could report varying accounts, or be impacted differently. Its arbitrary nature can cause individuals to interpret an event as negative or positive regardless of the general consensus, and even this is very vulnerable to change.
Why is this so? We can trace back and find that the answer lies in how perception is formed in the first place. For most people, the foundations are steeped in the culture and beliefs of their community and authority or parental figures. These values would usually be ingrained at an early age, before they even develop reasoning or a deeper awareness. It is through these initial guidelines that a little child uses, like tools, to navigate and make sense of their otherwise strange and foreign environment. An inner compass and frame of understanding begins to develop which is used to process new information, fitting it into an existing ecosystem of data.
We can see how this creates a learning loop where consciousness, i.e. self-awareness, keeps snowballing as it is being exposed to more stimuli. While growing, the various layers are always dependent on what came before it, thus there is only subjective depiction, no objective, set-in-stone truths in this area of discussion.