Like everyone else I have some fears. In this post, I am going to openly talk about some deep fears that I currently experience. And how I am starting to see the illusory nature of these fears.
I am 29 years old. Last year, I quit a very safe and stable sarkari naukri, to ‘follow my passion’ and ‘fulfil my purpose.’ It was a little less carefully planned move. No concrete plan, no clear model, no well defined path. I got what I should have got – a blow to my ego. I failed and fell down – in my own eyes and the eyes of my family and other closed ones.
After a period of feeling overwhelmed, confused, depressed, I finally started seeing some light on the end of the tunnel. I decided to continue my education and go for Master’s in Psychology.
Here are some fears that haunt me these days:
- I am too old to study.
- I am shamelessly depending on my parents at this age.
- I might not have what it takes to succeed.
- I am not confident enough, skilled enough, courageous enough. I am socially awkward.
The last one is something that has been there in my system for a long time. I am honestly tired of it. I just don’t care anymore. I have stopped myself and been in my own way for way too long. Enough with this fear. Why not move forward despite it?
I have had a decent amount of experience with facing fears and going beyond them. My favourite part is the realisation about fear’s illusory nature that comes once you overcome it. You realise that what you had been giving so much importance is just a shallow, petty thing.
Here’s one of my favourite incidents about this process. A few years ago, I embarrassed myself when I approached a girl in my society in a really awkward way. It was so bad and I was so naive back then that for a long time – a few months, I didn’t enter the particular area of the society. In fact, I completely avoided walking inside the society premises and used to walk outside the boundaries.
Sadly, the girl’s house was right next to the boundary. So even while walking there, I used to feel self-conscious. Looking towards the direction of her house was a huge ordeal. For all the months I walked on that particular path, I avoided looking in the direction of her house. It was a big fear back then – a big demon inside my psyche.
One day, I probably got tired of all the suffering that came along with entertaining the fear to house my mind. It was occupying too much of my mental space. Also, I had had some experience with facing my fears using a technique called progressive desensitisation – where you expose yourself to the object of your fear in a progressive manner until you overcome it completely.
That day, as I walked past her house, I decided to look at my fear in the eye. I deliberately looked in the direction of her house, and kept on looking for a long time. It was freedom. I felt free, powerful and confident.
Why at all was I afraid? What was I to lose if I looked in that direction? How at all could I get hurt by looking towards the direction of her house? There was no answer to these questions. I loved this realisation, the feeling I had that day. The thing I was so afraid of, the demon that I couldn’t bear to look at – was made of nothing. It was nothing. I was afraid of an illusion, a mental creation. A creation of my own mind.
This story empowers me till this day. As I retell it, I evaluate the fears that are currently housing my mind. And I wonder, how much power should I allow these fears to take? I see that they don’t deserve to scare me. I see that they have only as much power as I give them.
So what that I am 7 years late in my career? So what that I will be studying with people 7 years younger to me? So what that I am taking support of my parents? So what I feel socially awkward at times?
I am willing to work hard and do what it takes. I am going to take all the action that I can and hold the highest intention that I can. Maybe one day, I will create something worthwhile. Or I will die trying. In that, I will keep on respecting and loving myself.