How to Banish Your Fear
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Do you struggle with fear? Doesn’t everyone struggle with fear at some point in their lives?
Fear became a nearly constant companion to me after my son Alex died. When tragedy strikes, it tends to open the door to fear, and it’s very hard to shut fear out after that.
Every life has its share of tragedy. I’m not alone in this, and neither are you. Taking up a relationship with fear doesn’t seem optional when you’re in the midst of pain and grief. Fear comes on the heels of tragedy because tragedy transforms the unthinkable into the possible. It’s only logical that we feel afraid.
Our instinctive response to fear is to try to run from it, but it cannot be outrun. So what options do we have?
When my brother was small, a boy used to chase him home from school every day. My mother suggested that he stop running, turn and face the boy, and see what happened. He did this the following day. He and the boy then tried to figure out why one chased and the other ran. They eventually became good friends.
Recently, again, I woke in the morning to the recognition of the unwelcome presence of fear. I was so tired of being afraid! I decided to deal with it once and for all. That’s when it occurred to me to take the advice my mother had given to my little brother: face and confront it.
Me: “Why are you here?”
Fear: “You’re not doing well.”
Me: “So what? What else have you got?”
Fear: “This is overwhelming. You can’t handle this!”
Me: “I can handle this. I’ve been overwhelmed before. What else have you got?”
Fear: “You’re not good at this; you will fall apart.”
Me: “Been there, done that. Still here. What else have you got?”
Fear: “It’s never going to end, you know. Life doesn’t get easier as you grow older; it gets harder!”
Me: “So what? I become stronger, wiser and more resilient.”
Fear: “You don’t understand! Life is one struggle after another, some are HUGE struggles. Some days, months, years, it will be sad–and difficult! You don’t have any idea what lies ahead!”
Me: “Have you met me? Do you know what I’ve been through, what I’ve handled, what I’ve survived? I am not just a survivor — I’m a thriver. So, really; was that your best shot?”
Fear: ” ~ silence ~ ”
Me: “Go away. Do you see the door? Go!”
Fear: < in a whisper > “I’ll be back.”
Me: “I don’t care. You don’t scare me anymore.”
Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee