Your Fear Landscape

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A few years ago, a movie called ‘Divergent’ came out. Based off a book series, the plot involves a dystopian future where society has broken into factions based on their natural abilities and proclivities. The main character finds herself in a faction called ‘dauntless’ – a group of daredevils, all of whom are trained to overcome all fear. As such, they are continually placed into simulators that mimic their fear landscapes. (I swear this is relevant, so bear with me). It is here that they must face their fears head on – thus enabling them to conquer them.
Drowning, heights, small spaces and all the other regulars feature. And this question of fear landscape came up in our meeting this week. On a completely superficial level, my fear landscape involves giant, spindly legged spiders, water I can’t see the bottom of, and being buried alive. But realistically, if we were all faced with our fear landscapes, it would look very different.
In reality, a lot of us fear things like failure. We fear separation from others, we fear death, rejection and loneliness. We fear not being able to reach our full potential. We fear our dreams are just that… Dreams.
We fear we won’t do anything worth while and we fear that at the end of the day we wasted our time. These are all a lot deeper than fearing spiders, and all have the potential to deeply affect us.
Fear is one of our most primal instincts.

Just as a fear of spiders keeps me from putting my hands into cobweb filled corners or dark crevices, fear of failure (more often than I would like to admit) keeps me from trying. Fear of rejection causes me to withdraw, and fear of wasting time stifles my creativity. Keeps me in the ‘safe zone’. Safe isn’t always comfortable. And I would argue, that as inherently creative and adaptable beings, we are designed for change. Equipped to deal with risk.

So this week as we sat discussing our fear landscapes, we also discussed the way that our fears affect the way we relate with others. How are our fears impacting those around us?
How are our fears impacting the way we view ourselves?
The answers differ from person to person, and by the end of the meeting, though we came to no clear cut conclusions of how to solve these issues, we did come to realise that awareness is an invaluable tool. Self knowledge and awareness, is essential to personal growth and development. Because fears suggest weakness, we avoid them. We don’t want to get ourselves into our fear landscapes and face them head on. And we sure don’t want to let others into our fear landscapes alongside with us. But just because you ignore your fear landscape doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. If anything, ignoring our fears makes them so much worse. But in facing them head on, in acknowledging them for what they are, we have the chance to conquer them.
We have a chance to change how they impact us and our relationships.
A chance to not become fearless… But perhaps to become dauntless.

Some food for thought – What is your fear landscape? How do your fears affect your relationships? How do your fears hold you back?

J.Bellingham

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