Fear, a primal emotion, yet non-existent in our early years of life. We are born fearless, only to be fed copious servings as we learn to walk, to express ourselves in social settings, and to navigate life in general.
With each passing day, fear slowly but surely engulfs us, much like dark wisps of smoke sneer into our bodies as we cross cloudy polluted streets of life. We harbor and nurture fear until it festers in our very being, eating away at our sunny insides leaving us hollow. We fear admitting our fears to others around us, lest these become real and we come across as weak.
Little do we realize that fears are a collective experience. We all have fears, and if we admitted them out loud to each other, we would feel less alone; and shine our collective sunny shines to torch them out of us entirely. Much like ‘expecto patronum’ against dementors in Harry Potter. We might be each other’s guardian ‘patronus’.
Below are 7 fears we all have but don’t admit out loud. Here’s hoping that we start spelling and expelling them out.
1. Fear of losing someone we love dearly. Life followed by death, is the only reality. And yet we all fear it – both for ourselves, but more for the ones we love. In as harsh as times like these, the fear is palpable. Each of us knows someone who has lost someone they love. Many of us have lost someone we love dearly. Admitting that we fear death propels us to take on life with full gusto. Juice each moment worth its squeeze and cheer to it!
2. Fear of taking risks that seem too later to take now. We fear rocking the boat too much. As far as we can see the horizon, cruising the calm waters seems safe. A new career, that start-up idea, that unfinished novel, it all seems like too risky to pursue. After all, we missed the boat right? Each one of us harbors (no pun intended!) dreams we are too scared to follow at a perceived ‘unimaginable’ stage in life. Who knows, if we share them with each other, we might actually realize that it’s never too late for anything.
3. Fear of not being accepted for our authentic selves. We were ourselves when young. Life training, full of filters, charades, and propriety turn us into a vague self of who we truly are within. Even as the years pile on, our authentic selves don’t really change. Every now and then, it peers out of the farce to gauge circumstances and people – fearful of whether it’s safe to be our true self. The hope remains that we find accepting safe havens to be among.
4. Fear of being inadequate at work and in relationships. A meritocratic world constantly tells you that ‘you’ are the only limiting factor in achieving ‘anything‘ that you want in your professional and personal life. The perfect job and family are all within reach. You can have it all! Only if you really want it – pushing one to the brink of exhaustion and burnout. We try each day to show up to a “having it all” life, but fear that it’s never nearly enough, letting it cripple us further.
5. Fear of being judged by those we admire. Humans seek validation. From the time we are born, we look for an approving smile and nod for our efforts. Positive reinforcement from family, friends, teachers, employers – contribute early on to building a self assured ‘us’. Inversely, what may have done us in is working to counter judgement by the very same. We fear being put up on the stand and being judged. The detrimental part, most of this is in our head; because we judge too. A sure way to not fear being judged by others is to stop judging others.
6. Fear of not finding out true calling. Why were we put on this earth? What were we meant to do in this life? Will we ever find our true calling? A movie that somewhat alleviated this fear for me was the movie ‘soul’. A re-assuring message that, even if you are genius at something, it may after all not feel like the grand calling you envisioned. The nature of true callings is best put by Rumi – What you seek, is seeking you. We must fear not, for if we live a life with gratitude and presence that benefits those around us, we are already closer to a purposeful life.
7. Fear of losing our phones. On a lighter note, our phones are an integral part of our lives. Identities, life documents, bio-metrics, entire financial portfolios, and thousands of moments from our life are housed on this one device. We already feel handicapped in public without this device. Keys 🔑 lost – we can phone a key maker. Forgot our wallet – digital money and id cards to the rescue. Phone lost – ultimate panic mode. Until then crippling fear for life.
Even if we overcome the first six, that last one is bloody real.