Jaguar Paw was out hunting with his father and a group of young men when they met refugees from a neighboring village passing through the jungle. Their village had been ravaged and they were looking for a new place to settle.
Jaguar Paw was gripped with fear and felt something wasn’t right. He wanted to probe the refugees further; he wanted to know what exactly had happened to them, but his father silenced him and told him not to be infected by the fear in the refugees. “I did not raise you to see you with fear. Strike it from your heart do not bring it into our village.” He said to him. Jaguar Paw dismissed the fear and they went back to their village.
They laughed, ate and went to bed with their families, but they woke up to the sound of marauders entering their village. They were the same marauders that had attacked the refugees they met in the jungle. They burnt their houses, raped their women and took all the strong men as captives, and just before they slit his father’s throat, Jaguar Paw and his father looked at each other intently, they both knew they shouldn’t have dismissed that fear.
I know that feeling of regret so well too. Few years ago I opened up my life to some people, their friendliness should have made me feel comfortable around them but it didn’t. I feared their love wasn’t genuine, I feared they would hurt me, I feared so many things. But like Jaguar Paw’s Father, someone told me to strike fear out of my heart and embrace my new friendship.
So I did. Even when I later saw red flags, I dismissed it as fear. Today I regret it. I have never known a pain as deep as the one that relationship caused.
We have been told many times that fear should be dismissed as quickly as it comes, that it is only there to steal our peace. But after watching Apocalypto again, I keep wondering maybe that isn’t true all the time.
What if Jaguar Paw had allowed that fear to make him ask more questions from the refugees? Maybe he would have been able to prepare his men to fight the marauders, or had enough time to evacuate the villagers before the marauders came. What if I had allowed that fear to guide me to take a closer look at all the red flags in that relationship? Maybe I would have protected myself better and wouldn’t have been so hurt?
Sometimes, fear like many other emotions can be an internal compass that directs us to an issue that we need to resolve. For instance, if you fear that your car will break down on the road, don’t just dismiss it. Stop, take a look at it and be sure everything is working as it should. If everything is working well and there is no cause for alarm, then you can dismiss the fear.
Also, if you fear your business will fail, don’t just dismiss it and say you will conquer the fear by going on. Stop, take a look at what you are not doing right, fix it and then dismiss the fear.
Fear isn’t the problem; it is how we respond to it that can lead to problem. It can destroy you and it can keep you safe, you can be paralysed by it or let it point you to areas you need to investigate more closely so you can take the right action.
Fear is an ever-present part of our lives. It should not make us hideaway, it should spur us to take action.
My name is Shola Okubote, I am the Founder of Woman.ng
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