Have you ever felt tired of being told always what is good for you and what is not ? The only way to find out what you like or don’t like is by experiencing it. A lady that had once come to teach us a Vedanta course was dictating to us a list of things to do and not to do. Things like eating vegetarian food, not drinking, not smoking, the kind of people one should speak to etc etc. So I stood up and I told her that I wanted to try all the things on her list to decide what it was that I wanted to follow or not for myself. For very obvious reasons I was politely asked to leave that class and not return. This was many years ago and with all due respect to the genuineness of her intentions I still have the same stand.
Life is made up of experiences. Those can be good or bad, exciting or boring and simply joyous or too painful. But if I were to say no to an experience how would I know what emotion or feeling I could have felt. Not all is meant to be good and not all is meant to be bad but the only way for me to be able to differentiate between what is good for me and what is bad is by experiencing it. Now I’m not saying that one should take a knife and try and slice off portions of their body in order to feel what it’s like. That would be a terrible extreme. But what I do feel is that it is important to allow different experiences into our lives. Particularly those that come shrouded in fear and dread because a life full of fear and apprehensions is a dreary thing. The only way to overcome our fears is by experiencing them. Once you have been drenched in rain you’re just not afraid of getting wet any longer isn’t it?
Lets call it The Yes Way! Anything that you think you cannot do, try it. Every time you feel like saying no to something just stop and rethink and if you think it lies within your moral and ethical realm then give it a go. Afraid of public speaking? Get up and speak in front of an audience not just once but again and again till you become shameless. Be prepared for not being heard, be prepared for all sorts of trouble and expect that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. When you accept this, you are a step closer to overcoming that fear. Once you’re prepared for the worst it probably won't happen. Whatever will be, will be better than the worst and will only take you higher. Somebody had said to me once that if you always have a backup plan you most probably would not need it. The best thing about facing your fears is that you come out with the realisation that there never was anything to be afraid of. Fearless is the only way to be. Else life isn't worth living. The strangest truth is that every thing that I have been afraid of will happen to me and with me HAS happened. And when I look back at those I can’t help but feel what a waste it was to have been afraid.
I was always very afraid of elephant charges in the forest. To be honest I never really feared a tiger but whenever I came across an elephant in close vicinity I would palpitate with fear that I was going to be sent crashing through the forest. I was so afraid that I would just freeze and not be able to shoot anymore. Then there was this one trip a few years back into the forest when the heat was driving everybody, along with the animals, insane. From the minute I entered the forest my gypsy was charged at by one elephant herd after the other at the count of almost six charges a day. Somewhere after the third attack I realized that all I had to do was be calm and not let fear dictate my reaction. That was it! I just have not been afraid ever since then and I managed to get some of my best elephant photographs during that particular trip and that also while being chased.
It’s all about changing your perspective. When I am trying to teach photography to students I always tell them to see the same thing from a different perspective. If it’s a tree then try lying down and looking up at it or getting on top of an even higher platform to see the top of it. The idea is to break the monotony of our usual method of observation and evaluation and then react.
What truly matters is how much respect people can have for themselves with the ability to look in the mirror and feel pride in oneself, and for that, the first step is to overcome all our fears. I read a quote somewhere recently that said, “Climb a mountain not so the world can see you but so that you can see the world” and I thought to myself that was the best way to live and find much happiness.
About the author: Neha Parmar is a wildlife photographer and a conservationist with some tolerable talent for writing. If you liked, connected or have a contrary perspective with anything that you read please feel to share your feedback.
To see more work by Neha Parmar https://www.facebook.com/NehaParmarPhotography.
Disclaimer: This article remains copyright of the author and is her individual perspective. If you wish to give any feedback please get in touch with the author.