Spain is still recovering from the 2017 terrorist attack that took place in one of Spain’s most important cities, Barcelona. People in Barcelona, regardless of their ideologies, feel the losses and wounds caused by this terrorist attack just as if it had happened to them. They also feel fear.
Of all the messages that people have started to follow, I have paid particular attention to one among the others. This is not very original, it is repeated a lot, and it is for these reasons that it is interesting. It is a message that we are not afraid. Is this true then? Is this really a feeling that is not visible on the faces of Barcelona residents and tourists?
Yes, I’m afraid
This motto innocently shows all that we have not learned from emotions. Emotional intelligence is in vogue today, it is displayed in store windows and can be found in the titles of articles. We are still far from having emotional intelligence as part of our discussions. However, our conversations are a way of showing what we think and what we feel.
Let us talk about fear, for I am afraid, and my grandmother is afraid, for she tells me that I should not enter the city on foot. Caution and fear. The sorrow that the same thing will happen again, and the fear of the unexpected, the inevitable, and the occasional. Fear of how quickly we forget the pictures, the sirens and the search for a way out of that trap that moments ago was a beautiful park with all its flowers.
Let’s talk about how we don’t want to acknowledge fear, because showing vulnerability makes us panic, and because ever since we were children, we were taught that vulnerability is a sign of weakness. We panic when we hear the sound of fear within us when we feel vulnerable. So we sneak on our toes and then deny it. But is denying our fears a good idea?
What happens when we deny our fears?
What are the consequences of denying emotion? First, the energy of this feeling comes from other emotions we recognize, such as anger or irrationality.
When our emotions have too much energy, we begin to lose control of them, and this causes senseless acts of hatred towards those we believe are wrong.
Today, we are increasingly responding to the topic of religion, for the reason that it is now associated with terrorism.
And what makes us accuse all followers of one religion? This will only help us strengthen people who favor cruelty. That is, the groupings of people who want to create a paradise like theirs are increasing. Sometimes this happens at the cost of their own lives, as well as the lives of those they “hate.”
We also think that when we don’t pay attention to our fears, we hide our courage. Courage that deserves reward, and at least recognition from other people. Fear allows us to recognize the power and merits of the people who take to the streets to protest against terrorism and injustice, and this also allows us to understand those who have not taken part in such acts.
Recognizing fear helps us understand ourselves
Recognizing fear also helps us understand ourselves and explain our fears. By denying our fear, we miss this opportunity, and this also leads to the risk of ending up being separated from our feelings.
The concern that a terrorist attack could take place is truly adaptive. Fear tells us, “be careful!” That something is happening, that we need to be vigilant. In addition, recognizing fear allows us to feel connected to other people who feel fear. When our feelings are consistent with events, we prevent them from feeling that they are in some way strange, weak. So maybe we shouldn’t follow those who deny their own feelings.
I tell my grandmother that I understand her fears, and that I am also scared. I tell him he doesn’t have to worry that I’m careful… He can be at peace because he knows my behavior matches what we both feel. Fear is a feeling that allows us both to be brave.