OF FEARS – RATIONAL AND IRRATIONAL

As a child, I feared darkness. If there was a sudden disruption in power supply while I was alone in a room, a spontaneous shriek was sure to escape from me. How I overcame it, is sure to add humour to your day!!

One fine evening, I told myself that – my mother doesn’t shriek in fear when she is alone in a room and the power goes off, and my father doesn’t either. Nor do my grandparents, aunts or uncles. So if I continue to be afraid of the dark, I would carry it with me to my adult years as well. And how am I going to comfort my children when they are afraid of the dark, when I am no less? As a child, my mother came to me with a lit candle when it got dark. How will I do the same if I continue to be afraid? From that day, I decided to make a conscious effort to calm myself in the event of being alone in a room when there was a sudden power cut. It worked! It wasn’t easy. Nor did the change happen overnight. But, it did happen.

Our fears can be overcome! While I say this, I also acknowledge the fact that all fears can’t be overcome. A strong determination, motivation and counselling, therapy can help overcome many of our fears. However, some fears still continue to reside comfortably within us. To give an example, I haven’t overcome my fear of caterpillars. Come rainy season, and my eyes scan all walls, doors and windows for any sign of the creepy creature. More than a fear, its just a yucky repelling feeling.

Fear is a powerful human emotion. It is a response to the perception of an imminent danger/threat. Fear may be aroused in the presence of the object of fear or in remembrance of a past episode with the object of fear or in anticipation of a future encounter with it. For instance, one may be afraid of the fierce winds, heavy rainfall and the sight of houses and trees falling down during a cyclone; or may shudder recalling a past experience of a cyclone or may simply be afraid anticipating the footfall of a cyclone some day in the unseen future.

Some fears are rational. You cannot obviously, expect to see a lion and run towards it with a welcome smile! Such fears are rational. Whereas there are some fears which are irrational. These irrational fears are termed as ‘phobias’. Phobias are not easy to do away with, and require short-term or long-term therapy in order to be overcome. Rational fears on the other hand, are comparatively easier to be dealt with.

Stage fear, fear of facing an interview panel, fear of darkness, fear of sexual intimacy after marriage, fear of conceiving a child are all rational fears under normal circumstances (unless there is some compelling aversive antecedent to it).

There is a difference between discomfort and anxiety and fear. I remember going to a metro station in New Delhi and changing my travel plans and returning, on finding it overcrowded. Seeing the crowd milling all over the platform with practically no breathing space, I didn’t even descend the stairs to the platform! Now, that has nothing to do with phobia. It is just a sense of extreme mental discomfort. On the other hand, there are people who, in such a crowded situation would have broken into a sweat with high palpitations and pulse rate. This is phobia.

The same object can induce rational fear for one and irrational fear for another. There can be no strict categories for objects of rational and irrational fears.

While fear perception is a sign of a normal human being, continuing to live with fears, is not healthy. It affects one’s functioning as an individual and one’s relationship with others and how one views the world. It is best to overcome fear or to be surrounded by people who can guard and guide in the event of occurrence of such fears.

Having said it all, I strongly believe that all fears can be overcome with strength from God. I’m not being a fanatic when I say this. But its the faith within, that if God is in control of this massive universe, He is in control of my fears and yours.

“O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.”

 

RANDOM HAPPINESS

In life, we crave certainty, surety and sameness of things. We mostly take decisions or make our moves cautiously. Randomness is equated with rashness, but sometimes, randomness can also lead to a happy ending.

When Chiradeep told me this week’s topic, I thought, “Gosh, I don’t have theme based pics at all”. He kindly pointed out to me that I could write on random as a topic, with pictures. It didn’t make sense to me at first, but as I frantically combed my store of pictures, I realised I did have a theme – Random Happiness. There are so many little moments in my life that have happened by sheer happenstance, on a random day. Nothing planned, nothing certain about them.

I’m sure there must be incidents in your life too when random acts or incidents have worked out. Like a random act of kindness to a beggar. Or a random prank on a friend turning into the best moment of your friendship. We all have an element of randomness in ourselves that we try to subdue. Indeed, we should take precautions and think rationally before we take decisions. But randomness needn’t be scary all the time.

Randomness can be rewarding at moments like these…

When a random walk in the neighbourhood brings you across such rare views.

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Stray cat lazing in the January sun’s warmth

I caught this kitty cat-napping sprawled across a car’s windshield. Fine place you picked, kitty-cat! Eating, napping and soaking up the sun should be our national pasttimes.

When random people on the road become friends.

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Neighbourhood strangers, now friends

These kids are from my neighbourhood. They both belong to less-fortunate backgrounds but their hearts are just as big. They met me and my daughter while we were walking one day and have been friends with her ever since.

When random incidents become etched in your memory for all the right reasons.

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Daughter caught at the right moment

I found my daughter reading her own baby book one day, rather pensively. I’m sure it must be the pictures that fascinated her, but the sheer coincidence of reading her own baby book made it special for me. Catching up with your own goings-on, eh, daughter dearest?

When random bouts of creativity make you aware of your own stupidity.

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Cardboard Airplane Fail

I don’t know what I was thinking! I saw a cute cardboard airplane on the internet and thought, “Huh! Looks easy enough”. I know better now. On the plus side, it earned us a lot of mommy-daughter time.

When random culinary experiments turn out to be the tastiest fail of your life.

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Happiness in a Bowl

This was a lazy, weekday attempt at making a soup that used up all the leftovers in the fridge. It looked like it woud fail miserably, but did not. Read about why here.

When random acts show you that you’re bringing up your child right.

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My daughter offering me a flower

My daughter offered me a flower because I lost my own while we were walking (she has a habit of picking up sticks, stones, flowers and whatnot when she’s taking a walk). She thought I’d be sad, so she wanted to give me her own.

And when random, seemingly bad pictures show you just what true happiness is.

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Me and Mine

My friend took this and didn’t want to share it with me because she thought it was a bad picture – too bright, overexposed. But it had all the good in all the right places.

 

The message in these pictures?

Don’t cringe from randomness. You never know what happiness it may bring you.

Pradita Kapahi.

thepraditchronicles.com