We live in a climate of fear.
Fear of boarding a plane, a train a bus. Fear of walking the streets in broad daylight or at night. Fear of acting or fear of not.
Some people are able to deal with these fears head on. Take them in their stride and go about their everyday lives. Others are not so fortunate.
In the last few weeks at home and abroad we have been reminded almost daily about the horrors around us. 49 people shot dead in a nightclub, an MP brutally shot and stabbed in the street, a road rage incident leaving a man fighting for his life, a young woman killed in a car accident at a notoriously dangerous junction in my home town, another shot dead whilst meeting and greeting fans in the US. And these are only the ones that come to mind.
It's only natural to feel anxious about the world around us when confronted with stories such as these and after the horrors of last Thursday I felt that I had completely lost my faith in humanity.
The introduction of 24 hour news, of rolling coverage, of social media may mean that we are more informed (although whether being constantly updated with speculation and opinion rather than fact is useful is debatable) but it has also made us more fearful of the world we live in.
Horrors, tragedies, accidents, atrocities take place on a daily basis around the world and always have done, we are simply more aware of them now.
I didn't watch the Referendum debate on TV last night, in my mind there is nothing more to be said. The campaigns on both sides have been fuelled by fear, hate and anger with both sides working hard to debunk the facts and statistics presented by the other. There has been nothing positive about this campaign and I have been reminded of a GCSE History project I did (many moons ago!) regarding Nazi propaganda.
In an interview with the Guardian, Brendan Cox said that his wife was killed because of her political views. He said that she had been worried about the direction of politics in the UK and abroad, "particularly about creating division and playing on people's worst fears rather than their best instincts."
Sadly, this seems to be the way that the media and politics work today. Scaring people into submission, into making decisions based on fear and lies.
Today would have been Jo Cox's birthday and I have decided that today I will not be driven by fear but by love and gratitude. I am grateful for my husband and my boys, for my family spread around the UK and abroad and for my friends who are always there with a shoulder and a cup of coffee. I'm grateful that tomorrow I have the power to go to my local church and put a cross in a box and I'm grateful that I live in a society where I can put my thoughts down on paper and send them out into the world.
Fear and hate may be powerful but they will not rule my life. What will you be grateful for today?