It seems everywhere I go, I can’t escape seeing ‘fear’ in all its glory. A normally friendly neighbour, although garbed in full protection, hurriedly closed her front door when she saw me standing at the elevator. In my daily walks, others made wide circles to go around me. Most of us are experiencing some level of fear and anxiety due to the uncertainty imposed by Covid-19. If the experience of fear is inescapable, maybe it is presenting the opportunity for us to examine how we deal with fear.
As our society has modernized, it seems that that mass communications offer a fear-based view of the world. News and social media focus on events of illness, division and calamity and encourages people to share their anxiousness. This fear-based world view is used as a tool to oppress certain groups of people, which can restrict us. This view also helps to commercialize fear through various insurances and pharmaceuticals to help us feel secure and safe. It seems we have handed-over trust in our ability to navigate life’s unknowns and a belief in ourselves.
A helpful way to think of fear is seeing it as the unknown in ourselves. Its an opportunity to learn about the aspect of ourselves that we weren’t aware. Study fear in ourselves and those who surround us. To become familiar with it might actually soften it and possibly debilitate it. Understanding fear should expand our own perceptions and can help to develop self-awareness of the possibly limiting patterns as to how we deal with fear.
The poet Rainer Maria Rilke prompts: “We might try to LOVE our terrors and the dangers that confront us. How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races, the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses? Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us ACT, just once, with courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us in, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.”