Love, happiness, excitement are few examples of good emotions by any definition. What about a very familiar and powerful emotion- fear. Would you agree to place it in the same category as the ones mentioned? Hear me out here.
At a very basic and scientific level, fear keeps you alive. It is in the very core of any living being’s need to survive. Animals that are not scared, perish.
As per Osho the opposite of love is not hate, its fear. Hate is just a degree of love but you can never truly love someone you fear. I’d say love and fear are two sides of the same coin like life and death, light and darkness. One doesn’t exist without the other. As beautiful as love might seem, it will be irrelevant if there was no fear. Fear of failure, fear of loss, fear of the unknown are the driving forces behind our love for success, for holding on, for aspiring to live a full life.
It is such an intriguing emotion. And it’s even more interesting to see how humans have learnt to manipulate it.
As much as I am all for gentle parenting and baby centric crisis management, like any mother, I too am guilty of instilling fear in my children, for their own safety of course and ahem…. sometimes just to make my life a tiny bit easier. Judge away if you must!
What’s interesting to see is the difference in the level of fear that my 4 and 1yr olds display. As newborns and infants they knew no fear but year by year it increases. It’s easier to scare my older one than the younger. So it appears that this unique emotion is part of growth. And I don’t mean only physical growth but every kind of growth. The more you grow financially you are scared of someone taking your possessions, the more you love the more you are scared of losing, the more fame you have the more fear of public opinion you live in.
It is crucial even in my profession. Every six months, pilots have to go for training in a simulator. And in this training we are made to realise the responsibility that rests on us. We are put under any number of things that can go wrong in our everyday flights and we are taught and trained to deal with the situation. Fear of what all can go wrong makes you aware of the hard realities that could strike anytime but it also makes you appreciate the machine aka aircraft that does not bring you to that point so easily. And overcoming every simulated scenario makes you realise that you have it in you to make it right.
If you ask me, there is only one true fear that trumps it all, the fear of harm to your children. Just the thought messes with your head like no other. And it’s astonishing to see how the collective greed of mankind has been exploiting this emotion of parents and made it into thriving businesses. Off the top of my head are business of child birth, insurance industry and vaccination business and many similar ones. These all feed on the fear of “what ifs?” Things that might or might not happen are the determining factors of them and we will always choose what we think is the lesser evil.
Fear can be a beautiful emotion as long as it makes us better people. Say for example- fear of consequences keeps our primal destructive nature in check. But when it is used for exploitation, it can quickly turn ugly at so many levels. Using someone else’s fear for your own advantage is an act of cowardice.
Leaving you with this thought – recent studies have shown that overcoming your fears actually makes you happier. So we first admit that yes there is fear in the undercurrent of life itself and that it’s a good thing because it keeps us alive and drives us to be better.