Fear of the Unknown

What is fear?

And why do we fear anything or anyone?

Fear is simply an unpleasant emotion that you experience because of a dangerous situation, a painful incident or someone you find harmful to you or your loved ones.

All in all fear occurs because of a threat. A threat that many a times is imaginary. We fear something because we worry imagining about the worst that can or might happen. For example, you fear an illness because you fear losing someone to that disease. You fear because you’ve already seen someone suffer and die of that illness. What you don’t realize is this fear that is there in your mind affects you as well as people around you in a negative way. You’ve got to overcome this fear yourself. Stay firm, store up energy to fight the worst.

When I was 13, I saw one of my uncles (a BSF jawan) suffer an acute case of abdominal cancer. His elder son, a toddler, was in a hostel in a different state and his wife underwent a C-section in Kerala on the same day when uncle was undergoing a lengthy surgical procedure at Safdarjung Hospital, Delhi. I still remember how the aunt flew to Delhi with the elder son and the newborn just to get a glimpse of her husband. Treatment and destiny prolonged his life for another year that he could spend with his family. This incident made me so scared that whenever anyone at home fell ill, be it a fever or a simple stomach infection, I always dreaded the worst and kept worrying and praying. I was always worried that I might lose all of my loved ones to some illness or the other.

Another example. You’re well aware of what a particular friend thinks about you. You know what they talk about you behind your back. But you’re afraid to confront them. You fear telling the truth to them because you fear losing them. You’re afraid because you value that relationship much more than anything else. You don’t want to let go of those beautiful moments that you shared with them. But the truth is the rope connecting you with them has given in to the tension that’s there on your mind. Your self-respect and your self-esteem have been hurt. You both start getting vibes that help you understand what’s brewing. The more you ignore these vibes, the more harm you’re doing to yourself and to the relationship. It is always better to talk it out. But you must be prepared to face the worst. Most of the times a positive confrontation at the right time may save the relationship. But sometimes when you delay the confrontation, your pent up frustration, helplessness, and fear explodes. Thus burning whatever little remains of the once beautiful relationship. The burning up is still a lot better. It frees both of you from the unnecessary stress. And you won’t hate each other. You’ll rather accept each other for who you are. A lot of courage is required to attempt this and this is extremely painful.

Having been through the worst in some of these cases, I now feel that the amount of time I wasted ‘fearing the outcome’ was immense. I could have put them to better use. At the end of the day, nothing remains but this day. So stop fearing. I know I am sounding philosophical. But then I have to say what I actually think and feel. And this is my space.

Fear troubles you only till you have entered that particular door. Once you’ve been through it, irrespective of whatever be the outcome, you come out as a much more simpler, calmer and mature person. The fear of the worst once experienced vanishes forever. Well, almost. You now know that there’s nothing worse that can happen beyond this. It’s just like your first swimming class. Or the first flight for a baby bird. Yes. I have experienced that on my first paragliding experience in Goa. I started yelling, screaming and crying as soon as the balloon shored up along with me. I cried my lungs out with my eyes closed. And once I was up there in the air and was sure that no one could hear me and no one could know what I was undergoing, I stopped. The tears dried up within no time. And then I slowly opened my eyes and learnt to enjoy what I saw from up there. Dolphins, mountains, the crystal clear waters. I must say one of a kind experience it was. More because I’m scared of heights. Once in there, you come out as a winner. May be not perfect. But with a lot more clarity in thoughts.

I’m not sure why I have scribbled down all of this balderdash. May be the pain still remains. Or maybe I still value the people and the relationships that I lost .


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16 Replies to “Fear of the Unknown”

  1. Illness, I am still scared of. About the friendship thing you said, I am over it. If I feel someone is not worth my emotions, I don’t continue with it. This is a recent change is my behaviour but a good one. But I am not over fear. I think it needs a lot of practice to stay firm and exudes positive vibes.

    1. You’re absolutely right Saru. Getting over fear is indeed a tough task and I’m not sure if anyone has ever managed that. I for one, could not get over most of my fears. About friendship, a recent incident helped me get over it. But the sad part is, it still pains.

  2. It’s no balderdash but true that fear can be destructive. I do have fears inside me which is tough to confront. But, I agree it’s better to face them to feel relieved. The fear of failing gnaws me to death or confronting someone can slowly kill.

    1. I understand your fears Vishal! And trust me, it is all in our mind and all of us have gone through it at some point of time. Stay positive and keep doing your best. Once you’ve crossed this you’ll realize that the fear was all unnecessary.

  3. Fear – One emotion which drives us all at least 90% of the time. And I think man’s biggest struggle will be to conquer it during his/her lifetime. Sometimes I think I have conquered some of my fears with my adult reasoning, but my first response will probably always come from the depths which will be primal.. I don’t know if its even possible to overcome that.
    You are right about the vibes. They eat you up, if you don’t confront.At times its not just the fear of losing the person..but the very unpleasantness of a confrontation which you wish to avoid.

    1. “At times its not just the fear of losing the person..but the very unpleasantness of a confrontation which you wish to avoid.”

      You said it. It’s mostly the unpleasantness of confrontation that one wishes to avoid. But the other person takes undue advantage of this.

  4. Hmmm plenty food for thought there Rekha. Fear of disease of pain and of losing someone is so real. It’s tough to look beyond that. As far as friendships go I think we fear the confrontation itself rather than losing the friend a a exult of the confrontation. After all don’t we often prefer to drift apart rather than to confront someone? But you’re right about the negativity haunting our good times. If only we could expel all of it! Easier said than done.

    1. “As far as friendships go I think we fear the confrontation itself rather than losing the friend a a exult of the confrontation. After all don’t we often prefer to drift apart rather than to confront someone? But you’re right about the negativity haunting our good times. If only we could expel all of it!”

      That negativity kills our productivity and happiness. Experiencing first-hand.

  5. Yes, I agree that a lot of time- and peace of mind- can be lost because of worrying.

    I think we worry most about situations where we are not sure what to do.

    If we know what we have to do to resolve a situation- however difficult- then with some resolve we can face it.

    But uncertainty is a huge factor for worry to take over us…..

  6. Although I don’t show it to anyone, there is a constant fear at the back of my mind. I have lost my loved ones at a young age so I know. I just cannot help thinking that all will remain good in life, somehow this creepy feeling keeps coming that something bad will happen. Although it is not very strong , I want to erase it totally.

    1. Erasing fear completely is something I believe very few have achieved. But yes, it all depends on how strong you make yourself and how detached you remain from everything.

  7. Reks, I know I sound a little too philosophical and detached when I say this, but one must really learn to accept life for what it is, a lonely walk in which the people who walk with us decide to do so of their own accord. And therefore, we must necessarily give up this fear of losing loved ones to disease, death and destiny, which is an inevitability of life in any case. As the saying goes “we are born alone and will die alone” and any company in the journey is but incidental, that’s all.

    1. Easier said than done Jai. It takes a lot to detach yourself from everyone. Till the time you think from your heart and act accordingly, fear does take over. If you manage to remain unaffected, fear can never rule you. Unfortunately, I still think from my heart.

  8. We are all human and fear is a part of us…what we have learned seeing others. Some experiences will help us over come and some times, time is the best healer. Just don’t feed that fear, accept it and let it be.

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