Facing Fears

All of us have things we’re scared of. And sometimes the enormity of how terrifying these things are can cause us to procrastinate, to avert our gaze so we don’t have to acknowledge their terrible existence. But avoiding problems does not cause them to resolve on their own: contrarily, they will follow you and reappear in your life over and over again (sometimes in different forms, sometimes in the recurrence of the same event). Until we sort out our shit, it will always be with us.


I’m no expert on facing fears. Today I was so overwhelmed by what I’m scared of that I found it impossible to relax, and tasks as simple as taking the laundry out of the washing machine seemed impossible. But I do have these small slivers of advice:


  • Do what scares you. Running away from it will only make you smaller and make your fear greater. If you walk along side it rather than bolt headlong from it, it will diminish over time.
  • When you do choose to face what scares you, don’t feel that you need to face it all at once, right this second. Take a manageable pile of it in your arms (or in your cupped hands, if your resilience is particularly low at that point in time) and carry it off to take care of it. Even that little bit will make all the difference in the world.
  • If you do find yourself overwhelmed, and you recognise symptoms that indicate you are not all right, be kind to yourself. You cannot lift 100kg straight off the bat, you have to work your way up to it. Acknowledge how low your resources are and go do something nourishing for your soul.
  • Have friends and allies support you. Others can often see what you, in the midst of your anguish, cannot. They can tell you when it’s okay to rest, or when you need to push through the wall and keep going. They can be your life raft in the sea of terror.
  • Find something exciting, in spite of what scares you. My brother tells me that nervousness and excitement are biologically identical, so switch your focus from anxiety to anticipation. Find something to look forward to, even if it’s as small as a delicious meal or the sight of the clouds. And the more you focus on what makes you excited to be in your situation, the fewer reasons you have to dread it.


That’s all for now my friends. Peace.


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