Along with things which you have experienced, other people’s experiences and fears can also contribute to your own emotions and determine what you are fearful of.
You may find yourself fearful of certain things even if you yourself have no reason to be as the result of influence from somebody who you are close with.
Let’s imagine a little girl who is bitten by a dog.
Although she is not seriously hurt, the incident is painful and quite traumatic for her, and because of it she develops a fear of dogs which remains with her as she grows up and she remains scared of dogs well into her adult life.
As an adult, she has a child. Still fearful of dogs, she won’t let her child play with any dogs and crosses to the other side of the road with her child if she sees a dog walker approaching.
Because of this fear, her child learns that dogs are to be feared; subsequently growing up scared of dogs themselves even though they have not personally had a bad experience with any dogs at all.
Think about some of your fears – do you feel them because of a parent or sibling who does? Growing up, was your mom or dad scared of flying, going to the dentist, or did an older sibling display fears of a certain animal because of a bad experience that they had?
Some fears can be learned from others, and it is important to distinguish these learned fears from the fears which you have developed due to your own experiences.