The Fear Factor

I have mentioned before a certain lodger of my Grandmother’s who went by the name of Josef and made my Gran’s final few months far happier and more exciting than any of us could have hoped they’d be. Ever since Josef swept in and out of our lives, I have believed that some people enter our world for a specific reason, to teach us a lesson we need to learn or help us through a rough patch elsewhere. Sometimes things go wrong, “things fall apart”, and someone we don’t expect, often don’t even recognise as helping, supports us in expected ways or pulls us from the depths of despair. Sometimes, someone comes along for a short spell to help us out of a sticky situation, or to show us something about ourselves we didn’t know before. Sometimes we’re lucky enough to be the one sent into a situation to aid and abet changes in someone’s life, be they big or small, and to help them to get on the right path. Mostly we won’t even realise we’re doing it – because really it’s just a part of being human.

As wonderful as these fleeting relationships are, they can cause inordinate pain and distress on their own account. I can’t believe Josef didn’t grieve my Grandmother – they had grown to be close, afterall. When friends drift away or lovers leave, we cannot help but try to cling to them. It is human nature to attach. Logically, we should try to protect ourselves, to ensure that we don’t let anyone get too close, to avoid reliance on other people… but this too is against our instincts, not to mention detrimental to relationships as a whole. If we close off to those who would care for us, we risk never feeling that depth of emotion again. And emotion, feeling, from the ectsasy of joy to the sorrow of utter despair, is one of the greatest experiences we can undertake.

The trick, then, is to overcome the fear factor. Not to be afraid of loving, of dependence, of emotional depth – of looking a fool at the end of the day when you’ve laid your emotions bare and they’ve been discarded, or worse, rejected. Of appearing a failure.

We should throw caution to the wind, go all in, and put our hearts on the line – live, love, adventure and give not one jot what the world around us thinks. It’s our life, and our choice how emotionally we live. And if we don’t live to full capacity, there’s a chance we’ll regret it later…

Unfortunately, all this is all far easier said than done!


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