Almost every culture in the world has a bogeyman, an imaginary monster that scares the shit out of kids. ‘If you misbehave, the Bogeyman will come and get you!’.
How is it possible that this mystical creature has conditioned the behaviour of many kids around the world? Because the Bogeyman (‘El Coco’ in most Spanish speaking countries) is one of the most common personifications of the fear of darkness.
The fear of darkness was an essential survival response of our ancestors. The ape that wasn’t afraid of the dark came out at night and was eaten or died. But, the one who was afraid of the dark and stayed in survived and evolved into who we are today and passed on this primitive survival instinct.
Today, the fear of darkness plays a new role in people’s lives. As it’s no longer a survival response, it doesn’t really bring value to our lives the way it did back then. So, what value does the fear of darkness bring to us nowadays?
The Negative Emotional Quota and the Fear
We have a negative emotional quota that needs to be drained periodically regardless of the circumstances. The darkness offers the perfect environment for those negative thoughts to be interpreted as being life threatening. This emotional stimulation is essential to our emotional balance. Let me explain.
Challenges, threats, suffering, pain and a wide range of negative emotions provoke meaningful stimulation essential to our emotional wellbeing. This negative emotional impact is linked to our survival and when we tap into this, we offer our brain a healthy perception of a life threatening environment. We are designed to cope with this, if we weren’t, our ancestors would have not survived.
Everyone has a different emotional quota. People that pay to watch horror movies have a higher fear quota than me, for example. I can’t even watch Pinocchio because I panic when the puppet turns into a donkey. Not to mention Dumbo, I’m still working on my fear of elephant-shaped bubbles.
Now you know where your issues come from.
So the next time you find yourself checking under the bed, or frantically trying to turn on the lights for fear of the Bogeyman, the monster in the closet or the ghost behind you, be thankful. The fear of darkness is here to help you drain your negative emotional quota, which is essential for your emotional wellbeing.
Problems with Fear?
If you have problems with fear, it’s because you are enjoying too much the moments when it’s gone, when you feel safe and alive. Your fear is a silent messenger. If you want to know what is trying to tell you, feel free to contact me.