Sometimes, when we fear something,
the fear we anticipate experiencing is what makes us most anxious —
rather than the thing itself that we fear.
Psychologists call this ‘anticipatory anxiety’,
which, as technical terms go, is all very well.
But here’s how a man who lived more than a century ago put it:
Some of your hurts you have cured.
The sharpest still you have survived.
But what torments of grief you endured
From evils which never arrived.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-82
I’ve taken to murmuring these words to myself when I feel afraid.
People can speak in psychobabble and jargon —
or they can use timeless words.
Which do you find more healing?