My husband’s job takes him away on trips that last a couple of days, sometimes even weeks. Each time I bid him a good bye at the door, a strange fear chokes me up. What if he encounters a mishap? As reasonable as it seems to me, to others, this may be the most irrational fear. Surely it doesn’t make sense to be afraid of something one has no control over. However, I battle this fear (albeit for a few minutes) on almost every such occasion.
Fear is a very primitive emotion, existing in all living beings. On a lazy Saturday afternoon I pondered about what a woman’s biggest and deepest fears could be. I hoped that by getting a glimpse of this, I would be able to decide if fear could indeed be classified as “rational” or “irrational”.
What could a woman’s worst fear be? Is it rape and abuse? Is it loneliness, aging, an unhappy marriage or divorce? What do you think it is?
Abuse- A Woman’s worst nightmare –Twitter Poll
Pretty obvious, isn’t it? Women are afraid of aggression in all forms: sexual aggression, verbal/physical abuse, rape, rage etc…This fear is as rational as it seems due to the potential harm it may cause to one’s life and psyche. Therefore it didn’t come as a surprise when my twitter poll threw up over 60% of the respondents choosing abuse as their worst fear, over other options.
However, it was indeed inappropriate to club abuse with the other three options, which were rather frivolous in comparison (aptly pointed out by Priya Narayanan – @moonspotting who blogs at http://www.priyanarayanan.com). Hence, I felt the need to capture spontaneous responses-ones that we battle silently.
The silent battle that rages- Fears that are deep within
I asked women across ages to jot down spontaneously what their worst fears were. The fears were aplenty- from the fear of losing loved ones, to heart breaks, a fear of not getting attention, and so on. The spontaneous responses are below.
The empty nest syndrome- There are a complex mix of emotions as children leave home to live life on their own. A feeling of loneliness develops as a sudden emptiness sweeps through the household
Relationships and insecurities- The fear that creeps into the minds of many parents, when the son gets married and a new person enters the equation. What if she takes their child away from them?
Or fears that stem from the love we possess for our dear ones?
Career and home- The balance and the daily struggles- Let’s admit this. Most women experience this to some extent on a daily basis.
And there are some who fear it all- The fear of the unknown lurks within many. Sigh!
Decoding the responses
Fear is inevitable. As I read through each one of the spontaneous responses, I couldn’t really tell which of the fears were rational, or irrational for that matter. Probably there is no such thing as a rational or irrational fear. Where abuse is at one end of the spectrum being every woman’s nightmare, there are other strong fears that she battles on a regular basis. They bog her down, worry, and remain on the forefront of her mind. Fear varies with age, circumstances, and the stage of life. I really don’t think it can entirely be eradicated from our lives. They manifest in various forms within us. Like this:
But one could surely attempt to rise above it, by constantly reassuring to stop worrying about the future and just be comfortable in the moment. Regardless of what you’re afraid of, hope is the key. So focus, on the possibility of dreams coming true, rather than the likelihood of a fear showing up.
And having accepted that we all have our share of fears, what are the ones that you battle with on a regular basis?