We are all experts on our own fear. We have developed a close and intimate relationship with our fear through the years. We should know what makes us quake, run away, and hide. We avoid, deny, and perfectionistically talk ourselves out of all the right stuff to keep us safe. Except, fear also makes us do the stupidest stuff that ends up messing things up way worse than if we hadn’t made a fear based choice.
Here’s some examples of some of the stupid things fear has made me do.
I had to take my children to the doctor’s and get them flu shots yesterday. The Nurse practitioner gave me a tongue lashing for not bringing them in sooner so that the vaccine could take effect prior to the flu season. I was just afraid of having to take my four-year old for another shot. But she did well as we talked about it and I bribed her ahead of time. I hope we don’t get the flu of course. And those shots can’t hurt, although they hurt. I feared causing my child pain. But a good Mom knows smart choices.
Speaking of fear of doctors, there was that time when I got the sinus infection that lasted from Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day. I was so afraid of being sick, I think I lied about not having taken some antibiotics so that I then stopped short of a full run of treatment and ended up making things worse. I was terrified of what my body was up to and didn’t always trust the doctors to take care of me. Fear causes mistrust and cloudy thinking.
Fear made me avoid and lie.
I’ve been so afraid of having my writing submissions rejected again (those were some painful experiences) that I just stopped trying. Ridiculous considering I now know my writing truly doesn’t suck as much as it did. I question my why but I know that’s just distraction.
Fear that I am incapable of the tasks I am saddled to do makes me angry. Feelings of not knowing enough and feeling helpless can make me rant. So anger is a good sign of my fear. Or PMS.
I’ve discovered that acting from fear makes things worse. My feelings are compounded, amplified. Outcomes are messy and long-lasting. Instead, I need to stand still and think about how to meet my fears head on, get advice and a plan and have pride in myself for doing what I need to do despite my fear.
I bet we can all think of a moment of fear when we were not so proud of ourselves for our actions. We made things worse or hurt someone.
And you know, the only thing we can do is love ourselves for our humanity. Compassion has no expiration date.
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I’ve been putting off the flu shot. Today will be the day. Thank you. Facing my fears, big and small…
Mark’ll be getting his too Tammy.