It is undeniable that we humans live in constant fear.
However much confident, independent, solitary or loved we are, there exist an ounce of fear within each of us. The fear some share openly, the fear some hide mysteriously, the fear some admit consciously and the fear some know unconsciously..
So what are these fears?
I made a small list of my own here, trying to explore different types of fear found in the deepest corners of our hearts.
1. Fear of losing a loved one
This is the most commonly found fear in humans. Maybe in animals too, but I haven’t thought about that (yet).
Be it a person fearing his/her old ailing parent would die soon. Or a teenager head over heels in love with someone, fearing its just infatuation and won’t last. Fear of losing a loved one stirs up anyone – even if they claim they’re emotionally strong. Losing a child or spouse or parent / grandparent is the most natural fear, and natural because it is defectively installed in us to love our family. The ones who nurture us over the years, the ones who stand by us all along.
They say break-ups are hard, because even lovers become emotionally attached, falling prey into the fear of losing each other. This type of fear in fact, causes many other issues like being possessive, over protective or addicted.
Fear of losing a friend is also found in many. Some friendships do last long, but some are lost in the sands of time.
2. Fear of being lonely
Man is a social animal, which needs to be occasionally, if not constantly, fed with emotional interactions with others.
The fear of being lonely results in actions like seeking attention from family/peers, be always surrounded by people, or even being a party animal.
All these, and even more circumstances signify that people have a need to interact with others. And devoid of it causes mental imbalance too.
Nobody wants to be lonely. Its i different thing, to be alone for a while – to maybe sort out a problem, or think peacefully. Solitude is essential, but prolonged solitude is harsh on a person.
Moreover, as there is a saying – with sharing, happiness multiplies and sadness decreases. To be not able to share and celebrate one’s happiness is disheartening, and similarly, not being able to share the burden of a problem or worry also consumes a person from inside.
Hence everyone has a close-knit circle of family and friends, and the idea of losing them is always scary.
3. Fear of failure
Failing to meet expectation, repercussions of not meeting a deadline, losses of a failed project or continuous bad luck/timing – all these are perfect examples of fear of failure.
Giving up a dream because it doesn’t seen feasible, not taking up a task or not taking risks in a project/investment – these also imply that we are scared of failure.
Success matters so much, that we resent on miscalculating and not take an unplanned step. Uncalculated decisions taken without much weighing of matters can cause failure, but it is short-term only. For the long race, it teaches us what not to do which adds on to our experience and wisdom.
Staying on shore won’t fetch you pearls. And staying aboard won’t give you the experience of swimming. So dive in!
4. Fear of being judged
This is fairly common too, in all age groups.
A student might not raise a doubt in class, because he is embarrassed that it might be a foolish doubt and what others might think of him. A high school student hides from his peers that he writes romantic poems, because he fears they’ll laugh at him. A college graduate looks at the mirror before stepping out of his room, because he doesn’t want to be the laughing-stock. A manager doesn’t suggest improvements because he doubts if they’ll be implemented or even considered, and the management might dismiss him saying its a waste of time. A professor throws out a student from his class because of asking an irrelevant question, but actually because he dint know the explanation for it.
There can be a million instances in everybody’s life, when we act according to others. Because we fear what will others think. How many people have you seen singing in the public openly? Very less right? That’s because they fear they’ll be laughed at, or looked down upon, or be stared at.
We judge others and we are scared of being judged. It’s a vicious cycle which needs to stop.
5. Fear of conscious
A famous person once wrote, I sleep peacefully at night because I have a clear conscience.
If you haven’t borrowed or stolen, why will you fear anyone? Who can harm you, unless you have harmed someone? The inner voice won’t leave you alone if you know you’re guilty.
That is the power of conscience. It’s not in self-control. We can’t shut the constant nagging of our mind reminding us of our sin.
This fear of conscience, I say, is the best fear. Because it keep a check on us, guarding us from our own deeds and protecting us from decisions we might regret.
If such a fear of karma exists in all of us, this world would be such a peaceful place to live in.
6. Fear of death
The biggest truth of our life is death. Even though death is inevitable, there isn’t a soul who accepts it wholeheartedly. Everyone wants to live just a little longer.
Maybe the old and ailing wish to end their lives, and the ones who commit suicide don’t actually know the worth of this beautiful gift called life, but for the rest of us the fear of death doesn’t go.
Even our cultures and religions don’t preach us particularly to accept death with open arms with a smile on our face.
Indeed, our holy books narrate about the wonderful afterlife, lure us towards the glorious heaven and tell us how angels will take care of us, but these hardly leave an everlasting impression on our minds to fight or curb the fear of death.
Maybe I am wrong, but at least I haven’t read anything which tells people to give up the life and be dead instead. The holy books can guide us, how to lead our lives, so that when we die we don’t suffer (in death or life after death). They can even tell us how committing sins will hinder our transfer to the other side of death. But none can teach us how to accept the ultimate destination of death.
Some people don’t travel by airways, some avoid water, some prefer walking than sitting in a machine called car and some just keep bodyguards. All because they love their life and don’t want to die.
To a certain extent, this emotion is justified. We humans make emotional bonds with not just living beings but also non living things. So just the fear of leaving it all behind does stir up some unpleasant feeling.
But how far can we fight death?
7. Fear of future
Got final term exam tomorrow? Or results?
Or a thesis presentation?
Or maybe an appointment with your manager?
Or a meeting with your employees to tell them their allowances are reduced?
Or maybe its your baby’s first day at school?
Or a new collection of clothes releasing tomorrow?
And are you having butterflies in your stomach? Not able to sleep?
Well my friend, then like all of us you are excited and maybe fearing the future.
There is one thing to look forward to future – which is a positive aspect. Because you have worked hard for it, and you know nothing went wrong and you did it all absolutely correct. Then you look forward to future, waiting for the fruitful results.
But if you have doubts, you are not confident or you’re confused, you have done something wrong, crossed someone, they you fear your future. Because you worry what hell might break loose tomorrow!
As to how to avoid this, I really don’t know. Maybe with a clean conscience. But then, actors or fashion designers etc they do their hard work, but they fear the critics and audience on day of release. That has got nothing to do with conscience because an unknown factor is judging you and deciding your fate. Conscience has no play then.
Google can list more than 100 types of phobias found in people.
See here for the complete list.
Some are afraid of the dark, some are afraid of being lonely, and some are scared of crowd. This is a play of hormones in a person’s body, in my opinion.
As far as I know there isn’t a cure of phobia or other types of fears for that matter. And definitely there is a limit to which one can control his or her mind. Lets agree not all of us have a tactful control on our minds and hearts. Then how do we deal with fears?
Faith. Facing the true facts, looking right into the eyes of our fear, and keeping in mind the truth of our living, may help some fight some of these fears. And that is what therapy also does. It makes us believe in ourselves. Believe that we are the sole writers of our fate, destiny, life and death. And come what may, we have the strength to face it.
Live life in each moment with whatever you have around. Maybe lesser people tomorrow, maybe fewer loved ones by your side, but its you my friend who decide the terms and conditions for your life. Tomorrow I may die or I be so embarrassed that I wish to die. But at this moment I live this moment. With no fear. With no fear.