I don't know how most people are about their greatest fears and how they come about, but I remember mine coming from a young age. I don't even remember how old I was, but I remember the thought, because it is a thought that I remembered often. The situation between my parents was not ideal, and I knew that, and there was a lot of awkwardness, and unpleasantness arose from it, and I remember thinking that I never wanted to get divorced.
It seemed then like some insidious force, something that could not be controlled, something that could come and get me, well, so long as I first got married. I had this dual fear of never being accepted into marriage, and of being divorced. I tried to control it as much as I could. As soon as I found someone I was sure I could get to marry me, I tried to get myself married to him. And then once I was married to him, I tried to bend myself so there would never be a problem, so that divorce would never come to be an issue.
Lots of people talk about cancer, and how it is this eye-opening experience that makes you see what really matters in life. I think a lot of that is having to finally face the reality of the fear of death, just as when Janardan told me he was leaving, I had to start to face the reality of divorce.
We're afraid of them, and so they seem monumentally scary. It seems like anything is better to think about than the subject of our fear. It seems like giving in, to indulge and spend time on our fears. But facing those hard questions, facing those questions that scare us, that is what leads us to find what is really important, and I think for most people they find it inside. It is not the sky that changes, it is the notice of the sky that changes, the realization of that beauty. To ask the question: What if I am single for the rest of my life? What if I only have a few more days left on this earth? What if that really is the end?
There are all sorts of fears, but the secret of fear is that we know the fear so intimately, it is so much a part of us, that we know exactly how to overcome it. I used to think my life would fall apart, that I would have a mental breakdown if I had a divorce. When actually confronted with it, I had and continue to have one of the biggest periods of personal growth. I came to myself, and began to value myself.
As soon as we stop being afraid of what we lack, then we can begin to not lack it. But no one is going to give that to you. Not your friend, not your spouse, not your parents, not your therapist. It is a gift you can only give to yourself. Face your fear, and you will discover parts of you you never knew existed, and strength beyond what you imagined.
Fear exposes our weaknesses, but it is just like eyesight will alert us to the fact that we are looking into an empty cup. It is simply a call to action. Fill up the cup. Overcome your fears, by facing them. What would actually happen if you were covered in spiders? Don't think to prevent the situation from ever happening, think of determining a new reaction, because why should little arachnids get the better of you? Or your ex? Or "divorce"? Or death even? Why should the thought of death take away your enjoyment of life? All of these are opportunities to see what life has to offer, even when it is at its crappiest point.
Just trust in you. Face your fears. You'll find a lot more in yourself than you ever thought possible. If you don't, your fears will rule your life, and you will fall into bad decisions, because you're thinking from a place of fear, not confidence and assurance.
When you take that last breath on earth, you will be the only one doing that. That will be an experience all of your own. Remember that. Your life is yours to live. You don't owe anybody anything, and they don't owe you anything. Your relationships are there to add to your happiness, and should be enjoyable, as well as enjoyed. Live the breaths before the last, though. Live them all, as much as possible, not in fear, but in joy. Not in weakness, but in strength. You'll find the strength inside yourself.