I love the quote that Will Smith said in his movie "After Earth" which states "Fear is not real. It is the product of thoughts you create. Danger is very real, but fear is a choice.
Recently in the news they were again selling fear. Due to the warmer ocean waters, Southern California and other areas are seeing an influx of uncommon animals off our shores. "Shark Warnings" and "Beware the 'poisonous' sea snakes". Yes there have been Hammerhead and other shark sightings. Yes there has been a couple yellow-bellied sea snake sightings. No you should not be afraid. You should be educated.
Let's discuss the sharks first. The oceans are full of them but not as many as you may think. Shark numbers have sharply decreased over the years mostly due to humans. There are always some sharks off the coast. The news is reporting the Hammer-head sightings off the coast of California by stressing how aggressive and dangerous they are. While scientifically they are one of the more "aggressive" shark species, their aggression lies in hunting for food, not people.
What about the people? Recently there have been shark attacks off the Hawaiian islands that have injured some surfers. The amazing thing is they do not blame the sharks. The Hawaiian islands are home to Hawaiian Monk Seals, a favorite food of Tiger Sharks. We can learn a lot from how these surfers respect and treat the sharks and the Earth's oceans. Remember that danger is real but fear is your choice. Know your water. Know the trends in your area and your own skill set. Don't dress or act like a prey item. Know what to do in case of shark attack/bite. Respect that you are in their home and you are just a visitor. Just because the news reports every shark incident in a sensationalistic way does not mean they are common. You don't have to avoid the ocean, simply be aware of your surroundings and be willing to share the oceans.
Now to address the sea snakes and one of my biggest pet peeves. Listen up news media! Sea Snakes are Venomous Not Poisonous. Snow White's apple was poisonous. Now that I have made it sound scary, let me tell you why it's not. Sea snakes are not going to attack and bite you. They are friendly, curious, and gentle creatures. They dine on small fish, not humans. Divers often come back with stories of how sea snakes came and checked out their own reflection in the diver's masks. Bites are rare and always caused when snakes are caught in fishing nets or when some human grabs them. They will not bite you if you don't touch them. One last note on sea snakes so that you all know; if you ever see a beached sea snake call an expert in. Beached sea snakes are either sick, injured, or dead. A beached sea snake, even a dead one, is dangerous so please call an expert. Danger is real, fear is unnecessary when you have knowledge.
"We are not afraid of the unknown. We are afraid of what we project onto the unknown."
It's not only wildlife or the evening news that causes fear in people, we are afraid of everything. Fear of failure. Fear of loneliness. Fear of success. Fear of change. Fear of repeating a mistake. Fear of loss. Fear of...._____. You fill in the blank. Everyone has fears. It's ok. Fear is a natural instinct that keeps us safe and happy. The problem with fear is that it is exploited and encouraged. The news sells fear daily. Well meaning friends love to give dire warnings. Often times it is easier to believe the fear and let it make our decisions. Worse yet is when we actually manifest our own worst fears by being too afraid.
Good News! We Are Smart! WhooHoo! That's great because we will always have fear, but we will be smart enough to think things through. We are smart and will ask if there is real danger to feed our fear, or if we are afraid of what we are projecting onto the unknown. True, there will be times when we are wrong; hey we're human, but we will be living a happier, smarter, more fulfilled life.
So do your research and ask yourself: Am I really afraid? We will always have fear but isn't it great that we can reduce it to the important ones.
One last quote to round up this rant.
"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." ~John Wayne
So to all of you courageous souls, enjoy life!