What is fear? It stops us from doing a lot of things. Fear of poverty stops us from quitting that job we hate. Fear of being alone stops us from getting out of a bad relationship. Fear of being reprimanded stops us from speaking our mind. Fear of pain and responsibility keeps us from becoming parents. Fear of not being liked keeps us from being ourselves.
So what do we do about it? Quit our jobs? End our relationships? Blab our thoughts without thinking about them first? Let it all hang out and be completely fearless?
Do I hate my job? No. But at one time I did. When things were so stressful at work that I would wake up at 3am and not be able to go back to sleep because my mind would start working and I would start worrying about the day ahead. I would live my life for the clock showing 4:30 and beyond that the weekend. I was wishing my life away, because I hated 8 hours out of my day.
What could I do? I was not a parent yet at this time, but I still had a mortgage to pay and bills and all that fun stuff that goes along with owning a house, and a car, etc. Was I to quit my job and lose half of our income? My husband hated his job almost as much as I did, but he hung in there, because we had to. We were afraid of what would happen if we quit. Especially if we both quit. Fear was driving us to continue on in the situation we were in, making us feel powerless to change it.
I got lucky. I’m now in a different position within the company. I think having a child helped me as well, it changed my priorities and my outlook on things. Joe went back to school full time and though it was very tough financially for quite some time, he’s working now and things are looking alright (touch wood).
We really had to think about it and make the leap though. We had to make the decision and realize that it was going to be tough if he went back to school. But it would only last for so long and we only had to make it that far, then hopefully things would turn around for us. They did. We were lucky.
I know not to take things for granted. Things are going okay now, but I work in an industry that is suffering with the present economy. I know that anything can happen and nothing is guaranteed in life. Here today, gone tomorrow, so to speak. I totally realize that.
There is nothing worse than being afraid. The knot that forms in your stomach, the ringing in your ears. The helplessness, the hopelessness. It’s scary. Sometimes its debilitating.
The fear that sets in when you find out that your job could be on the line. The fear that sets in when a relationship that you have been struggling to hang on to finally feels like it is slipping away.
The fear when you find out that you, or worse – someone you love is sick. Really sick. Dealing with that sickness. The fear of what life will be like when they are not there anymore. The fear that you will not be able to handle not having them anymore. People are not replaceable. When someone dies, you physically lose them. You always carry a part of them around with you. You have your memories, you have their personal belongings, you have perhaps a grave site or mausoleum to go and visit. But you don’t have the hugs, the smiles, the advice. That goes on with them. The physical presence of them in the room. That is no longer there. When there is the risk of losing that, we really have cause to fear.
I think these are all normal fears. I think that though it is never really fun to feel truly afraid, these feelings are part of what makes us human. They are part of our development as people and are representative of how we deal with others, how we fit into this existence.
The problem starts when we let fear run our lives. When it stops us from doing things that we should be doing. When fear of a child getting hurt stops us from letting them do the things that they need for healthy development. The things that they need to do to just be a kid. When we let a fear of flying stop us from getting on an airplane and seeing what the world has to offer. When the fear of trying something new stops us from getting out of a way of life that is making us miserable, because we are comfortable in our miserableness.
So what is the “antidote” to fear? What do we need to fight fear and rise above? Courage.
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.” – Ambrose Redmoon.