What’s your hunger?

Hunger, danger, and fear can have a profound impact on people, changing them in irreversible ways. In moments of peril, some of us try to amass as much as possible to secure our future existence. We witnessed this during the recent pandemic when rumors spread that there might be disruptions in the supply of essential food and hygiene products. I vividly recall a day when, after work, I went shopping and found myself unable to buy pasta, rice, or grains. Even basic items like salt and sugar were gone. This wasn’t due to actual supply chain issues but rather a result of planning deliveries for typical consumer behavior, which had not anticipated the unconventional global events. In the midst of panic-buying and stockpiling for months, it’s no surprise that we emptied the warehouse stocks. Remember the bizarre toilet paper frenzy in the US? People were fighting over it in supermarkets, and it was eventually rationed. In Poland, we had toilet paper, but tampons and sanitary pads were a different story. We panicked over the prospect of not having more. We were driven not by genuine hunger and scarcity but by the fear of it.

„Fear does something strange to people like Al. But not you. Fear doesn't shut you down, it wakes you up.”

I watched the Divergent series a long time ago, and while much of it has faded from memory, a quote has stayed with me. In this story, Al, together with his friends, tried to harm the main character, Tris, out of fear of exclusion from their group and a drop in their rankings. His fear of losing everything led him to contemplate taking everything from Tris. Ultimately, Four, the enigmatic and handsome commander, saved Tris. Al’s internal torment and guilt following this incident drove him to suicide. It was then that Four spoke memorable words to Tris: „Fear does something strange to people like Al. But not you. Fear doesn’t shut you down, it wakes you up.” This made me wonder what set Tris apart. She wasn’t without fear; she felt it but acted nonetheless. This is a lesson we learn as adults: to experience fear but act despite it.

Fear can be paralyzing at first, but there comes a point when we break free from its grip. Nothing remains but action. Our anxious numbness can persist, recurring in similar situations until we realize that there is an alternative to the powerlessness we currently endure. I like to think that this is the moment when we hit rock bottom, poised to rebound because, at that point, we can’t go any lower. I believe that the most perilous person is not just one who has nothing to lose, but also one who recognizes their state of “freezing” behavior and overcomes it. Realizing that the most vulnerable state is when one is helpless, paralyzed, and unable to act is equally dangerous. I’ve encountered paralyzing fear numerous times and later felt self-loathing for not taking action. Now, when I encounter fear in similar situations, my response is different. It’s not that I’m fearless; it’s that my senses are heightened in moments of danger. “It wakes you up” is an apt expression because fear awakens my senses. Anyone can learn to confront anxiety and transform it into proactivity.Hunger operates on a similar principle. When we cross a certain threshold of hunger, just as with fear, paralysis wanes, and instead of succumbing, we seek. I don’t refer only to physical hunger but also the mental hunger stemming from the needs of our heart or soul.

„Hunger had brought me further from home than I usually risked„

creator - spooning (found on deviantart)

I have a particular fondness for reading fantasy romances with a political undertone. The world of the Faerieland is alluring and cruel, making it hard for me to resist such literature. One of my favorite book series is ACOTAR (A Court of Thorns and Roses). Initially, it may seem like typical female literature, with handsome princes, a damsel to be saved, and a backdrop of war with wicked kings and valiant warriors. However, closer examination reveals the novel’s complexity. Feyra, the main character, and her family are starving during a harsh winter, with no animal left in the nearby forests. In desperation, Feyra ventures deeper into the forbidden forest, close to the wall that separates the human land from the Faerieland. She manages to hunt a deer and slay an enormous wolf, sensing that it’s not an ordinary wolf. As punishment, she is taken beyond the wall, compensating for the life she took. At first glance, this may seem like an ordinary tale, but it becomes evident that it isn’t just physical hunger driving Feyra. She hungers for freedom, change, love, and knowledge. The author has intricately crafted the characters. What’s essential here is that, without the aforementioned hunger, Feyra would not have entered the forest, taken risks, or broken her established patterns.

Now, let’s replace the word “hunger” with “need”: “Need has brought me further from home than usual.” How often do you experience the desire for change, to break free from something or someone, to leave, or to acquire new knowledge but do nothing about it? Perhaps because it’s merely a desire, we can stifle it effectively as long as we’re not hungry and desperate enough. Only when a compelling need arises do we overcome our resistance. It’s only when we reach the bottom, experience spiritual malnutrition, that we venture further beyond our comfort zones. After all, what could be worse than the numbness we’re enduring now? Is this the end of our life as we know it, arranged safely and comfortably? If such a threat looms, whether we act or wait, it will find us. We have nothing to lose. We might as well follow that strong need, seeking the sustenance we’ve systematically denied ourselves.

So, what’s your hunger? How long will you continue living malnourished, sustaining yourself on meager scraps? When will you reach the point where you have nothing left to lose, and you boldly venture further than your norm, risk more than usual, wake up in fear, and reach for the things that will truly feed you?

Organize your life.

The first publication in the Untold product series, created to share methodology for organizing everyday life, cultivating systematic discipline, and developing proper habits. Drawing from the author's experience, knowledge, beliefs, and commonly available coaching tools, she aims to inspire you to take action and present you with a straightforward approach to achieving fulfillment and building self-esteem. Written in a simple way, it contains examples from everyday life, practical tips, exercises, and beautiful graphics. Available in e-book and audiobook.

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