As humans, there are so many things we’re scared of, the list of ‘phobias’ may never end. Someone’s scared of heights, someone’s scared of reptiles, someone’s scared of ghosts, some others are scared of their parents (:p), and someone can be scared of all of them. A human’s life is dictated not by his or her fears, but by those fears that he or she overcomes. Life is a journey which teaches us lessons in overcoming our umpteen fears. Some we conquer, some we don’t, and some we develop as we grow older.
I’ll repeat what I said above: a human’s life is dictated by the fears he or she eventually overcomes. As I interpret it, it’s also about prioritising among your fears. This priority rule assumes shape in the face of rather unshapely, intangible fears: fear of abandonment, of intimacy, of commitment, of separation, of betrayal. Very often, when we learn to overcome these intangible fears, we also learn to overcome the tangible fears in the process. In short, two birds killed with one stone. Killed, yes. That’s what we’re aiming at. And more often than note, such a scenario presents itself when our very survival becomes a contestable topic. ‘Perform or perish’, ‘fight or flight’, ‘Darr ke aage jeet hai‘, etc, suddenly seem like the most appropriate descriptions for such predicaments in life. In a very subtle way, overcoming these intangible fears makes us a better person. We often forget to thank these ‘invisible’ fears for their existence, because, don’t we all hate them? We are so ungrateful to everybody who makes us feel like a slave to something that’s not even visible to them. But it’s not them we are supposed to blame, it’s our own selves.
Bungee jumping, sky-diving, paragliding and other adventure sports often seem like insurmountable fears, but everyone knows, that they’re not. Sure, these sports have the capability to make you understand the meaning of ‘cold feet’, quite literally. But bungee-jumping is not something one does every day..so will a bungee-jump help you survive in this world? You may feel good after having done it (Hoorah! Yay, I did it!), and you may not, if you’re TOO scared. Nonetheless, it becomes something fun..instead of your survival instincts, your adrenaline rush takes over. And it’s over in a few minutes. But if it leaves you feeling more miserable than before, you have not exactly conquered it. Maybe you should do it one more time. (Or maybe, you should save money, and spend on something that seems like a more pragmatic option.) When you have enough money stashed away, and when you’re ready to face the heights, you can always return again to the challenge. No place for regrets. But what if some fears and their invincibility makes you regret your poor choices? It becomes difficult to handle the guilt that accompanies those choices.
Dear ‘real’ men..consider this: If you’re faced between the choice to save your sister from hooligans (knowing that you have always dreaded this day, because as a man, you have zero confidence in your ability to help any woman, starting with your sister), and between driving a car to the point where they’ve taken her (oh, how you fear the traffic), your choice is pretty obvious. And it will be obvious to every bystander. It’s not a question of your survival, but of a woman, who happens to be your sister. If you freeze during that moment, two people will never forgive you: your sister, and your own self. You will lose respect for yourself, and you’ll forget the mechanism of concocting stories which always garnered people’s attention. With one choice, you overcome two fears. First, you unleash the man within you, you unleash the selfless person who cares about his sister more than his own life, and secondly, you overcome that relatively insignificant fear of traffic on the road. It’s like choosing between the better and the best..only here you become the best when you face the worst.
(Not specifically) For the women: if you’re independent, live your independence to the fullest. If you make a choice, learn to do justice to that choice. It’s especially applicable to something that is again, a rather invisible fear: fear of intimacy, commitment, vulnerability, love, etc. Choose your fears wisely. Staying scared of irresponsible drinking will save you from more heartache than being scared of your own actions behind closed doors, for which you yourself will be responsible.
What Edmund Hillary said after conquering the Everest sums this post up: “It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves”. He perfectly understood the difference between those two fears, and killed both.
We all have an Everest in our lives, and we have some mountains created out of molehills..it’s upto us to choose what scares us more. Everest, after all, takes us nearer to both Heaven and Hell.