Fear – An unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain or harm (Oxford Dictionary)
Many of my friends and loved ones have been going through some shit lately. Some big, some small. When you dig down deep enough, you will find fear is the culprit. Fear is the seed that is making that vine grow. Branching out into all aspects of life, family, friends, work, you name it, it’s trying to grab hold. I was talking with my daughter a few nights ago about this exact thing. She is going through some stuff (not going to share it – not my story to tell) and she inferred that I wasn’t afraid of anything. You see, I am an optimist. I try to see the good in all things. I prefer to raise people up which in turn makes me look like I have my shit together and have no fear. Sweet child, you couldn’t be more wrong.
During my 46 years in this earthly realm, yours truly has felt her share of fear. When I was a child I was afraid of monsters under my bed, my house catching on fire, spiders, bees and heights. I put my children’s Bible under my bed = no more monsters = no more fear. I wore my housecoat and slippers to bed so in case of of a fire I was ready to flee = no more fear. I saw my Auntie Jo squish a spider with her bare hands = no more fear…still a little freaked out by those 8 legged monstrosities. I found out that bees help things grow and once stung by one I got ice cream to make me feel better = no more fear. As for the heights…after falling 12 feet off the playground equipment the fear was gone. I realized I wasn’t afraid of heights, I was afraid of the pain of landing after the fall. Now I knew what to expect.
Fast forward 35 years and the fears I face aren’t as easy to overcome. My family gene pool offers ovarian cancer, breast cancer, dementia and Alzheimer’s. My husband had a heart attack at 39. He is fine. His heart is good. I still wake up to check if he’s breathing, just as I did when my daughter was a wee baby – you know, getting eye level with their stomach to see if it rises. Our lovely daughter deals with issues of anxiety and depression. I still get a knot in my stomach when she sounds funny on the phone or I receive a random text. …by the way, that is why I do not like texting – no emotion so you never know it’s context. Drives me crazy. Most of the time there is nothing the matter, but fear makes me think otherwise.
I’m going to tell you what I told my daughter. A little fear is good, it keeps you aware. A lot of fear is bad, it blinds you to what is right in front of you. We all have fears. We all have anxieties. Mostly over the things we don’t have any control of. I can eat well, do what the Doctor and Oprah tell me to do and guess what? I could still get cancer. I have no control over what happens to my husband or our daughter. All I can do is love them and remind them of their health issues and help them to practice self care and love.
In this life all we can control is our behavior, how we decide to see people and treat them. In my experience, kindness is a fear killer. It really is. Whenever I have been fearful of something new, be it work or life, I kill it with kindness. I also make myself remember all the fears I have conquered, from fear of falling off my bike when I was six, to fear of driving into the heart of the dragon – the 400/401 highway in Toronto when I was 43, and all the other fears in between.
Be gentle with yourself for you are doing the best you can. Fear will always be lurking in the shadows. I believe that kindness is light, so if you have light, there is no need to fear the dark.