Fear. I’m afraid of strangers, especially someone who wants to have a small talk with me. I’m afraid to initiate conversations either, despite sensing the awkwardness of silence between me and the other person. I’m afraid of the dark. I make sure that before I sleep, my night lamp casts a faint light enough for me to see my room. I’m afraid of nightmares. It’s the worst thing that can happen to me during night time.
Listing down all what I am afraid of may perhaps give you an idea how freak I am sometimes. It may reveal something about me, let’s say, the feeling-expert guys out there might find me a freakin’ introvert. Well, they may have their guess right, but to say that I am introvert tell nothing about me than I am more comfortable with the private space I myself created than having a place in a crowded space. Being an introvert is far better than being a pervert after all!
I read somewhere that people are usually afraid of something they can’t figure out or grasp like the dark figure looking through a window, or the vague future that causes anxiety for some of us. But for me, I think people are actually afraid of the possibilities they aren’t yet ready to confront with the presence of these things. Looking at my long list of fears for example, I realize that I am not actually afraid to these things per se but what could possibly happen when I find myself confronting them. For example, I’m not actually afraid of the dark itself but the possibility of seeing something there. I’m not afraid of initiating conversation itself but the possibility of being rejected. It turns out that I am not actually afraid of strangers but what could possibly happen when I meet such people. To people who are afraid of heights, perhaps they actually fear the possibility of falling. To people who are afraid of loving again, they maybe are actually afraid of the risk of being hurt of another unsuccessful relationship. The people who are afraid to venture into business are perhaps really afraid of failing once again. These “fears” are actually faces of a deeper anxiety to something.
What then are we going to do with these fears? Well, it’s hard to say something about this since our fears are deeply rooted in our lived experiences. They are immersed in the brute facts of our existence which might be very valid to one person but not to the other. Admit it or not, we are living in a heavily contextualized truth. However, patterns about overcoming these fears might appear evident to many of us. For example, naming the fear is a significant step towards winning the battle against it. In exorcisms for example, it is important in the rite to name the demon. In Near East cultures, naming something means having authority over that something. So, in overcoming a bad spirit, to name the demon in order to command it to leave is crucial.
The same is true to every fear we encounter perhaps. The tendency to simply ignore and push it to the realm of unconscious sometimes intensifies the control of this fear over us. It affects the way we deal to other people and to all relationships we have. By this time it might be quite too late since it was hard for us now to identify it. The only thing left to us is to start naming it and stripping it off all mystification in order to get acquainted to it and control it. If the demon that haunts us is actually that fear that takes us aback every time we act towards transcendence, we should better name it and start controlling it. As it has been said long ago, “Knowing the enemy is to win the battle halfway.”