When psychologist Rian McMullin was asked what he thought the most central problem to most people’s problems were, after some thought, he decided it was that they did not run toward the roar. He explains with a story he had read years ago.
The daughter of a missionary lived on the Serengeti Plains of Africa. She had grown up around lion prides and had noticed that, with regard to their older members, they acted differently from other species. While other animals left their elders to die when they could no longer catch their own game, the lion pride did not; they used them to assist in the hunt. The pride would trap antelope and other animals in a ravine, assembling young lions on one side and the old, clawless, toothless lions on the other. The old lions would then roar as loudly as they could. The animals in the ravine would hear the roar and run in the opposite direction, straight into the waiting group of young lions.
The lesson for the antelope was clear, though few were left to benefit from it. Had they run to the roar, they would have been safe; but they were too afraid of the noise. By running away from the sound of danger, they ran into the danger itself. The story may or may not be true, but it is helpful nonetheless because it symbolizes a serious problem that most clients have. They turn away from whatever it is that they have a difficult time facing – they run away from the roar.
In therapy, we see many clients that run from fear, trying to find a calm, safe place to hide on the planet. If they fear flying, they avoid planes. If they fear crowds, they stay home by themselves. If they are scared of water, they avoid swimming in lakes and oceans. Their fears never diminish; they only increase. The more they run, they more afraid they become. Their avoidance ends up reinforcing the belief that it must be something to be fearful of. At Innovative Psychological Consultants, we teach you how to systematically conquer your fears.
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