One of the most toxic things that can fester and infect your life, is fear. It comes in many disguises like anxiety, depression, avoidance, divisiveness, differentness, horror, suspicion, lack of confidence, distrust, injustice–just to name a few.
If left unchecked it can destroy relationships, erode your personal power, and keep you from living life. As recent history shows us fear can also divide a community or bring it together. (I’m thinking BLM here as well as Covid_19)
Let’s face it, sometimes it feels like the whole world is going crazy.
Whether it’s Covid-19, a huge chemical explosion in Beirut, the death of a loved one, or a scathing remark from a ‘friend’…they all have the ability to stop you in your tracks.
Your heart races, palms get sweaty, you lose sleep, and things that once made sense, now seem turned on their side. It can make you realize just how little control you actually have, and that in itself, can be very scary.
As per Wikipedia, “fear, is a feeling induced by perceived danger or threat…”.
This is a very basic definition, but Auntie wants you to be aware of it and the affect it can have on your life.
Fear can sometimes be a visceral response based totally out of emotion instead of rational thought.
For example: Imagine having to give a presentation at the office in front of co-workers. There’s no real physical threat, yet it can cause you to freeze and be unable to function. What may be a breeze for some is sheer terror for another.
What about having to work the medical front lines during a global pandemic where the ‘enemy’ is invisible and the fear is life or death. How does a person deal with that?
There’s also the deep-seated fear involving the fight or flight response where life and death appears imminent…like fleeing a wild fire or a bomb explosion.
I can’t even imagine the heart pounding moments that witnesses to such events go through. The adrenaline must pump so fast and fierce–nothing will stop them in the fight or flight. The body reacts out of the need to survive. Hopefully, this all-out fear response, is not the norm for your everyday life because it would be an exhaustive physical experience.
Do you know where your fears come from?
Is your fear based globally, in your community, in your own home…or maybe even in your own head? Does fear grip you when you watch YouTube or news casts? Does it creep in every morning as you’re opening your eyes? Is the fear external or internal? Do you fear for yourself or for others? Are you afraid of someone of another culture or language? Religion? Is it a question of being right? or left? Where does your fear come from?
That’s a lot of questions I know, but if you stop, think, and honestly contemplate your fears, it may help clarify your own situation. Are the fears rational? based in folk-lore? reality? gossip? lies? politics? half-truths?
Fear can rule your life through manifestations of anxiety, stress, and heightened awareness; fear may also creep into decision making, thus shattering your confidence and blocking the freedom to be who you really are (or want to be).
Fear can and will stop you from reaching your potential as you look into the world in judgement that it’s out to get you or will cut you down without just cause. You’ll miss human connections because someone is different in someway or sidestep opportunities as you fear you’re not enough.
Scary things happen all over the world every single day. There are terrorists who want everyone to live in a perpetual states of fear and nervousness and there are accidents around the globe that are devastating and senseless. The explosion in Beirut for example, though seemingly caused by negligence, does not appear deliberate. You don’t need to be afraid of a similar thing happening closer to home.
It’s the same with recurring natural disasters, such as wild fires, earthquakes, or hurricanes…just to name a few.
Media often shove them to the forefront and this can heighten fear.
If you’re at ground zero, you have no choice but to act, but if you’re out of the zone and still have a fear of a natural disaster striking, you may need to take a deep breath and step back…turn off FaceBook/YouTube, make a plan of action if/when something does happen, and accept that your fear may be larger than the reality of the situation.
It’s the same with Covid-19. If you’re living in New Zealand I’d say your probably alright but if you’re in the higher risk countries like U.S.A. then your fears are rational and precautions should be taken.
Being aware of how your fears are manifesting themselves in your everyday life is key. Write them down and test their validity if you have to.
If any of the following is happening then it’s time to seek out some professional advice:
- If your fear hinders everyday activity–get help.
- Is fear present even though you know it’s not rational?
- Is fear so crippling that functioning through daily life is difficult?
There is no shame in seeking help.
A good start may be with your family doctor or local mental health center.
The Hope for Mental Wellness in Canada: Call toll free 1-855-242-3310
and Kids Help Line: 1-800-668-6868
Don’t ever give up hope. Try to keep fear at bay, take back your own control, and carry on with life.
Fear itself can be so debilitating and drive you to your knees but it doesn’t have to rule your life. Knowledge is power and sometimes when you sit down and study the reality of the situation and what can and can’t happen, you empower yourself and feel more in control.
So…is fear holding you back from doing what you want, or need, to do? You’re the only one who can answer this and it may be harder than you think. The answer is very telling as it shows where you are in many areas of your life. Whether it be maturity, confidence, or a willingness to explore alternatives to live, or think, outside of the box, you’re the only one that can identify and deal with it.
As an Auntie, I’ve seen many young people miss opportunities simply because they couldn’t find the courage within themselves to move forward.
The world is a crazy, scary place sometimes, I know, but somehow, you’ll find your way because the alternative is scary too.