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We’ve been scared for a long time. 
The global political tactic of the last few years has been purposefully to create fear and mis-trust. We have been told to fear the people who come from other countries and cultures and the problems that they will cause. We have grown to fear those who look different, worship different, vote different, come from a different class in society or speak a different language. 
The sweeping phenomenon of strong-man* politics and nationalism, has coupled with the zeitgeist of rampant individualism. We are all hosts and broadcasters of our own media channels, we chose the news which confirms our pre-formed opinions and carve out a niche in the world which is shaped around us and our success.
The other is to be feared. 
And, at the moment, perhaps more than any other moment in recent history, we have much to fear. Now it is entirely possible that even the people who look, worship, vote and speak like me might still be silent assassins waiting to pass me a virus with a handshake or a word spoken from not-quite-far-enough away. 
As you know, there are famously two responses to fear. And they are largely embedded into our characters. 
Fight. Or flight. 
Tackle the issue head on. Or leg it, bury your head in the sand and hope it will all go away. 
But the two repossess hide a single truth.
When you’re scared, EVERYONE and EVERYTHING is a threat.
Remember when you were a kid? Your bedroom, by daylight, was a safe space, with toys, maybe a cupboard and a lamp? At night though, as you lay awake disturbed by a nightmare, everything cast an ominous shadow. 
It could be a teddybear at the end of your bed…or…it could be a blood-sucking alien come to capture you. 
Anyone who has had to walk home late at night on their own will also know the feeling that whoever else is on the street suddenly assumes the status of potential threat. 
As we re-start society over the next few weeks, we are going to experience our own fears as well as the fears of everyone else. We will argue with people who queue too close to us in shops, whose kids don’t stay far enough away from our own in the playground, with people who think differently about vaccines or tracking apps. And I wonder if the temptation is going to be isolationist and protectionism?
So time for a secret. 
I hate geese. Always have. I think some must have chased me when I was small. Or maybe I woke one night to find one staring at me from end of my bed. Who knows?
If I was to walk round a lake and discover my path blocked by a gaggle of the winged demons, I would, honestly, back up and walk back the other way round. I cant understand why the rest of you don’t seem to be panicked by their evil eyes and razor sharp beaks. Surely it is only a matter of time before they rise up in revolution against us?
Were I to walk around that same lake with my kids. Well. I’d act differently. There is not a goose in the world that I would back-down from if it were to threaten my girls. I would take on all comers. I’d walk bravely in-between my girls and the geese. 
Not because the fear has vanished. 
Because love is a stronger force than fear. 
Over the next few months when difficult decisions come your way which make you afraid, you’re not going to be able to ‘talk yourself out of it’. The fear is real, and valid. But. Whatever decisions I make, I am determined that they will be based on love rather than fear. On openness rather than isolation. On care for my neighbour rather than fear of them. 
I hope I will still welcome refuges, give sandwiches to street-sleepers, donate generously to courageous and creative charities, empathise deeply with families trapped in situations much more complex than mine, show patience to teachers and well-meaning delivery drivers, reject cynicism and hatred and, though still perplexed and unsure…choose to be driven by love rather than fear.  
*It usually is the men who use this tactic, though not of course exclusively. In contrast, much has been written about the wonderful female global leaders who manage to govern with wisdom, insight and empathy. Let’s listen and learn fellas!