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Embracing the Abyss: Confronting Our Deepest Fear of the Unknown

My Dad always used to say, what’s the worst that could happen? At least you tried. What are you scared of? Or he would chide me for worrying about or being fearful of events that had not even folded.

“Here be the dragons” is often used on ancient maps to denote unexplored and potentially dangerous territories. For most of us today, those dragons aren’t fire-breathing beasts but deep-seated fears that roar to life when faced with the unknown. But what if we’re missing the treasure by running away from the dragon?

Credit: Craig Adderley. Pexel

What did our Ancestors teach us that now haunts us:

Our primitive ancestors faced genuine, life-threatening unknowns daily.

The rustle in the bushes could be a predator, and the unfamiliar path might lead to danger. Fast forward to the present day, and we’re no longer running from wild animals, but we’re still fleeing. Why?

  • Change and Chaos: The new job, the unfamiliar city, the mysterious neighbour. Our brain flags them as threats, forcing us to grapple with anxiety and hesitation.
  • Stereotypes and Shadows: The unknown breeds myths and misunderstandings, often spiralling into prejudices and biases against things or people we’re unfamiliar with.
  • Paralysis Through Overanalysis: Given an uncertain situation, our minds sometimes become a theatre of worst-case scenarios, paralyzing us with fear. Panic mechanic is a term that we used to call a friend who would overthink every scenario, and when the event finally happened, he would collapse in a heap of exhaustion just before the big occasion. Thankfully, he partially got rid of that fear before getting married.

Dancing with Dragons: Turning Fear into Fuel

Instead of fleeing from the dragons of the unknown, let’s learn to dance with them. Play with them and learn to use them. Here’s how:

  1. Equip Yourself with Knowledge: Arm yourself against the fear of the unknown by seeking knowledge. Knowledge is power and will help you build a strong case, slicing through the shadows of uncertainty.
  2. Breathe, Ground, Conquer: Techniques like mindfulness and meditation aren’t just buzzwords—they’re your shield against the onslaught of anxiety, keeping you grounded as you face the unknown. A few quiet moments always help set my mind before I set off to work.
  3. Challenge the Ghost Stories: When your mind starts weaving tales of dread, confront them. It has taken me ages, but if I had known this earlier, I would have done it earlier. Always stay in the now for whatever you are doing. If I am drinking a cup of tea, I try my hardest on enjoying on that cuppa and stop my mind from wandering aimlessly.
  4. Build Your Army: Rally your friends, family, or even professionals. Make sure you have the right cheerleaders on your side. Give the time wasters the red card.
  5. Celebrate Uncertainty: Embrace the thrill of not knowing. If you have done your risk assessment, then you have nothing to worry about. See it as something you can grow from.

Conclusion

The dragons of the unknown may seem intimidating, but remember: every legend speaks of heroes who confronted their fears and emerged victorious. Today, the unknown is our uncharted territory, our adventure waiting to be embarked upon. Grab your sword, gather your army, and let’s discover what treasures lie beyond the dragons.

Credit: Some tale unsplash