Archive for the ‘Fear’ Category
When we are little there are lots of things that scare us. The possibility that Mom or Dad might leave scares us. Things that could be hiding under the bed or in the closet scare us. The frightening faces of Halloween scare us.
When we are bigger, and are grown up, other things scare us. The possibility of a lover, husband or wife leaving scares us. The possibility of going too deep into intimacy scares us. Being real scares us. Telling our true feelings scare us. Loving and being loved scares us. Finding out who we really are inside scares us. Maybe we are not so different from our children. Maybe we too hide behind different kinds of masks.
We hide behind words. • I really don’t care, which hides I’m afraid to tell you how much I care. • I’m not afraid, which hides please hold me. • It doesn’t matter, which hides I’m afraid to talk about my pain. • I’m fine, which hides I don’t know how to say I’m hurting. • What’s the point, which hides I’m afraid to change. • You don’t care, which hides I’m afraid you’ll leave me, so I leave first. • It’s your fault, which hides I’m responsible for my own reality. • There’s nothing I can do about it, which hides I don’t yet believe in myself. • Why bother, which hides I’ve lost my sense of power. • That’s just how things are, which hides I have given up.
We also hide behind cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, serial relationships and food. We hide behind interrogation, intimidation, guilt tripping, shame projecting and fault finding. Often we hide behind our fears and the lie that we tell ourselves about not being big enough to heal them. We hide behind the governments that make us do what we do. The lovers that make us act how we act and the bosses who hold us back from being who we really can be. We hide behind the people in our lives who won’t go first and who prevent us from being who we really are. Much of the time we hide behind what our parents did, or didn’t do, to us, as if being a parent comes with a complete set of tools and skills. We hide behind our pain as if feelings could kill us, our anger as if vulnerability was a bad thing, and our caustic sense of humor as if being real or loving was the same as being weak.
We hide behind busyness, rushing, appointments and too much to do. Sometimes we hide behind our church because we can always be forgiven. Or, our lovers who will love us no matter what we do or say that might be hurtful. We hide behind confusion, telling ourselves we don’t know where to find the truth. We hide behind the fear of caring too much, hurting too deeply or getting too involved to take a stand that changes the inequity and inhumanity in the world. Most of all we hide behind the lie that we don’t really know what is right, principled and spiritual.
Who knows, perhaps we could take a lesson from our children… consider the charade over … put down our masks and become real again. Maybe we would discover a safety, once lost, if we were to shed the protective facade that keeps us distanced from each other and our real feelings. Maybe we could find our true selves. There is a sense of relief that comes with being real. An added aliveness that allows us to step out of the shadows. No more spooky secrets to jump out and get us… no more boogie men behind untruths. No more costumes that hide the beauty and rightness of being who we really are.
Every feeling and thought we have is valid and expressing them all from a place of vulnerability is a place of great power. In that place where I honor all my feelings, I can honor yours as well, without judgment and without fear. Funny how that works. Just as in the light of day, the goblins and ghosts are seen for the nonsense they really are, so too our fear diminishes when we are standing in truth. Feelings, when brought into the light, prove to be nothing more… than simply feelings. Hmmm… I wonder…. do we adults have the courage to take off our masks when the kids do?
© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013
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Legs that can’t stop kicking. Nails that continue to be bitten. A total lack of trust in anyone or anything. Sleepless nights spent ruminating. An inability to stop running, on the inside or the outside. These symptoms are not always the signs of a therapeutic or chemical disorder. They could be signs of -The Worst.
When THE WORST happens in your childhood, you can end up feeling as if THE WORST is always going to happen so you live life with an ASSUME THE WORST attitude. This assume the worst attitude becomes a protective mechanism that allows you to be more prepared for – you guessed it – the worst. If you don’t stop and remember at some point that you are no longer a child who needs this defense mechanism in order to survive, you could spend your life in flight or fight, always waiting for the other shoe to drop and feeling certain that something about you is causing each disaster.
People who assume the worst are hedging their bets, cushioning the fall and trying to anticipate and prepare for whatever bad thing is coming. It is a self-protective mechanism. However, while in this belief, you expend tons of energy and countless hours of worry and fretting over imagined consequences. You forfeit hours of joy. In addition, you, no doubt, have a compromised immune system that is working over time expecting that big boogeyman that seldom arrives…the worst. The worst already happened and you already survived it.
Never again will you be a 3-foot helpless child without any support system, without the power of language or body size and cognitive reasoning. Never again will you be in a position where you can’t find the answers or get what you need to be ok. You can take a breath. You can let your shoulders down. You can stop running. You already courageously survived the worst.
I know some of you are thinking, Well what about this bad thing that could happen? That would be the worst thing in the world for me! Perhaps there are still things in life that would feel terrible and difficult to overcome. However, at this point in your life, you are an adult who is not helpless and who is able to reach out for the support ant tools you need in order to survive whatever comes….unlike when you were a child. No doubt, over the past many years, you have put some additional tools in your tool bag and you have learned a thing or two. You are probably making different choices that are self-loving and self-respecting. You also probably have a good intuitive read when trouble walks through your door. All of which makes you safer.
Too many of us are living out of our red wagon of bad past experiences. These experiences of the past continue to control our decision making process today. They inhibit our willingness to take a risk, try something new or imagine the unimaginable. We look back at the times when we had an empty tool bag, were not as evolved spiritually and were less emotional equipped to handle life’s vicissitudes and challenges. With those memories as our defining factor we pass on opportunities to venture out and create new and better realities for ourselves. In other words, we remain stuck in our past waiting for the worst. We have forgotten what safety feels like, if we ever felt it.
It is important to give your mind and body the experience of safety on an energetic level. For instance, right now, put the paper down and just feel your surroundings. Notice that nothing and no one bad is coming. Notice your breathing and slow it down a bit. Let your shoulders drop and imagine what safety might feel like in your belly, in every one of the cells in your body. Become aware of the energy that surrounds you. Tell your body it can let go. Listen to chatter in your mind and thank that voice for working overtime to protect you. Let it know that you are finally safe and it no longer has to have that responsibility. Give it a new job, like being in charge of the fun quotient, and let it have permission to let go. It might just be that the worst thing happening in your life now, is getting rid of the worst.
© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013