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The ‘F’ words.

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All our lives we live between these 2 very powerful F words: Fear and Faith.

As children we all are scared of something or have certain phobias. Some are scared of ghosts; some of heights and some fear the dark. I was a math phobic. Though I was a good student overall, maths was a terror. I had no attachments what so ever with this subject. No matter how good my teacher was or how well the formulas and methods were explained to me, my brain refused to take it in. Just like a tortoise curls up its limbs on sensing danger, my mind and senses gave in to maths the same way. And while I scored well in other subjects, maths was always a jolter. But strangely I always scored passing marks in this subject. It was a miracle for me. I knew someone up there was helping me. As children we don’t have many expectations. These little fears and miracles keep us rolling. We are yet to know about faith, we just believe in miracles.

So, literally till my XIth standard I was blessed with this unseen power that got me through my maths exam in spite of me not giving a proper glance at the book. But it was during my final Board exam when this miracle didn’t work. I flunked my maths board exam. All these years I have never failed, why now when it was most crucial? It was the final year of my schooling. I had to start my college. But I was stuck. This failure had put a hold on my future. What happened to the miracle I wondered?

The miracle of the seed and the soil is not available by affirmation; it is only available by labor. Jim Rohn

This failure took a lot from me. My fear got bigger than the miracle or the faith that I was holding up all my life. While I was preparing to re appear for my exams, my friends were applying for colleges. The entire world seemed ahead of me then. I had to give up on the college of my choice. I had lost all my friends or rather I disconnected from them. With no confidence left, I felt ashamed of myself. I was fearful of everything. I had lost hope. My failure had broken me completely. But through those cracks I could see a light. Though I had become more fearful but the tremors of fear had created waves in my faltered faith. It was an eye opener for me. I knew all my life I had pushed fear under the carpet. I had stopped making any efforts and was completely relying on miracles. I had to change this.

Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.” Saint Augustine

 I had to prove myself that I can do better. I wasted no time during my college days, while I studied for my Mass Communication degree. I simultaneously started looking for job. My fear of being left behind in life was constantly there. And while the fire of fear was burning within me, my faith in myself kept me going. I applied for job in every media house possible. Be it Print media or Electronic. I knocked on each door. With no contacts and no experience, I kept trying. I just had faith to hold on to. But I never gave up. Finally, a miracle happened and I got a call from one of best News Channel in the country. I was hired for the company I had never dreamt of getting into. My faith in my hard work had paid off.

But, this was just the start. With time the battle between the two forces only got fierce.

Faith and fear both demand you to believe in something you cannot see. You Choose!” Bob Proctor

📷: jnab_adil

Fear has many dimensions. For some fear is futuristic and for some it dwells in the now. A child might fear a bully at school, a woman too scared to step out of the house fearing harassment. Some feel traumatised going to a dentist while some get anxious facing an interview. No matter how big or small, fear is a monster each one of us has to face.

As Children we are less complicated and so we keep our fears and faith simple. But as adults, we complicate it, in fact we manipulate it. We let our fear ride us more than the faith. Fear feeds our fire to succeed , it feeds our ambition and sometimes our ego. It even feeds our traumas. And when we fail to fulfil all this, that’s when we look within for help, for faith. 

I have seen people staying in toxic situations all their lives.They cope with noxious workplaces, live in destructive relationships and struggle with abusive partners all in the name of faith. Hoping that someday things will get better. But they always neglect the fact that it is actually fear more than love that is holding them in these relationships. The fear of losing the one they love. I have lived with this fear for years.

Why sometimes fear feels stronger than faith?

As Sadhguru says: It’s when we let our perceptions rule the reality.

Most of the time we feed our fears with our imaginations that it becomes larger than life. We surrender to the fear and believe it to be our destiny. When we see our dear ones in pain or see them suffer, our fear of losing them increases. And that’s when we decide to hold on to our faith and hope for them to be alright.  But faith has a bigger burden to bear than fear. Lot of us have faced frauds and betrayals all in the name of faith. Sometimes the ones we trust the most backstabs us. We usually put faith under brackets like religion or spirituality and then let it get dissolve under our own judgements. Fear, on the other hand is free from any such classification. It’s just an emotion; a state. But how can an emotion that brings us down and halts our progress be so powerful that we succumb to it. 

While we take fear at its face value, we usually doubt faith. We often lose hope when we actually need to hold on to it. Fear is the circle of failures, ego, anger and other similar pent ups. Fear comes from the situations we are not prepared for. It’s faith that breaks this circle. Fear is not in living or dying, it’s in between. We all want our lives to be smooth, go as planned. Any hurdle in between puts us off. Whatever may happen tomorrow, we get worried about it today itself. Basically, we suffer our own imagination. Our perceptions become our suffering. And every time our lives go off the track, hundreds of weird thoughts pollute our mind and further ignite the fire of fear within us. 

“When fear knocks, answer with faith”

If we surrender to our fears then whatever big or small life throws at us we start fearing that. We fear losing out on life. We are very impatient and want things to happen quickly and as we desire. We are always worried about the outcome. Scared of not making it till the end of what we have dreamt of. Money, love, house, career, relationships, exams, you name it and you can attach a fear factor to each one of them. Most people base their entire life on what they fear the most. Fear takes hold of our emotions.

2020 manifested fear in manifold. Everyone today is living in the shadow of fear. Fear to survive. We’re scared for our lives and the lives of our loved ones. Life seem to come to an halt. Lockdowns, job losses, forced confinements, social distancing even from your loved ones. We all are living our worst nightmares. The fear of this virus is looming large over our heads. We panic if someone sneezes or coughs. This virus has captivated our minds. It’s beyond the ties of class, sex, nationality or religion. We all are living the same fear. It seems Fear is the Virus! But when we see fear, we also see faith. The world is trying to fight this virus. Doctors, Health care workers and other frontline heroes make us believe that the world has not lost hope. We are united and fighting in solidarity to overcome this fear. And finally the faith is beginning to bear fruit in the form of effective vaccine. And sooner than we know we will be on track. But then is fear always that bad?Once the fear is gone we tend to get complacent and make the mistakes we have been making for years. Sometimes fear actually puts us on the right path. Hope humanity learns this lesson now.

“Set thy heart upon thy work but never its reward”~ The Bhagavad Gita

We all are tied down by the reward and that becomes the reason of our fear. We get stuck in the outcome. The road to our destination, what efforts we put in to get that reward becomes our karma and our faith. Faith is our determination, it’s our hard work and never to give up on our dreams. No matter how fearful you are, it’s the faith and the hope of success that helps you fight that battle.

I held on to miracles in school without fighting for the fear I had. My faith pushed me away and made me stand face to face with my fear at the most crucial time so that I could learn to get up and fight for myself and hold my fears by the horns. That one fall helped me fight for myself in future. It’s Ok to be fearful sometimes. As long as you channelize your fearfulness into your strength. Fear makes you weak. It captivates your mind and binds you in chains. 

Faith liberates you. Faith is the antidote for fear. Faith is the hope. It is the weapon to fight your vulnerabilities, to fight your doubts caused by your fear. We just need to change gears from what if to even if.

So, let Faith be your ‘F’ word.

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7 thoughts on “The ‘F’ words.”

  1. I will keep this article in my goodread library. I had the same experience of failing in physics in 11th and after that i learned so many things about life. There is one line from my father’s poem that i always keep in my mind…
    चलना ही ज़िन्दगी है यही जीत हार है…

    Bas aise hi likhte rho… Hum padhte rahenge…

    1. Thanks Pallav. I’m sure you have learnt a lot about life esp how to help and encourage people. I owe you big time.
      And I would to read your father’s poems. Please do share

  2. This is such a poignant article.. so well written, with such clarity of thought and emotional . This is a story that will resonate with each one of us!
    Love your narration which makes it so relatable.. ❤️
    Please keep writing, would love to read more!!

  3. This thought was needed so much. Very articulate, very personal. You’ve traveled back in time and observed your journey in a new light. Kudos! Very well written Shivani!

  4. Again a beautiful write up.. Who have the courage to talk about your own failures not many I guess.. While you talked about your fear of maths I could so relate to it.. Yes and I did all I could to get maths in 11th as I was refused by school coz of my less marks in maths 10th .. But I had faith somewhere…. Keep writing and unfurling yourself and blooming in your writing. Full marks..

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