Let’s talk about FEAR shall we?

Fear is a powerful emotion whether you are a three year old afraid of the boogeyman under the bed, or a 30 year old afraid of spiders. Ironically, fear is a driving force, which typically enabled us to choose the right path when we were children. The fear of receiving strong discipline from our parents if we did something naughty, was often enough to persuade us to make the right choice. If not, and we chose the wrong path, there was the other fear which occurred when the discipline arrived. This type of fear motivated us to STOP behavior – or perhaps, to never act on a childish impulse in the first place.

There are as many types of fear as there are people in this world, for we are all unique individuals and as such, our fears reflect our uniqueness. Fear of new places, new people and new guidelines may keep us from taking a particular job offer or even submitting our resume’ to begin with, for fear of receiving yet another letter of rejection. As someone who has been in search of an employment situation that works for me for the last two years, I can tell you personally – those rejection letters are ugly, nasty creatures that can build any insecurities already living in your mind.

Fear has the ability keep you stuck in place like quicksand. It could be the job you trudge through daily because you are afraid to take a chance and make a change or a toxic relationship that makes you second guess all you believe and how you feel about yourself and the world around you, but you are too afraid of the unknown to make a change. Fear of what others may think, fear of rejection and pain all serve to keep us stuck in place – never moving, never truly growing.

There is a flip side to fear though! I can tell you, for me personally, fear is a great motivating tool! When I was a teenager, looking through my teenage eyes at my surroundings and all of the people I saw who were STUCK in the same small town, doing the same job, in the same house for the same pay – year after year – I made a decision to move. In my late 20’s, after four beautiful boys and a failed marriage already, I felt stuck. I felt as though I was being sucked under and then trampled underfoot by the myriad of bad choices I had made. I was living through the painful consequences of those choices and found it to be unacceptable. I was AFRAID if I did not make a change, I’d grow old and die without having done anything – without having served a purpose. I believed then, as I do now, that we all have a purpose.

That fear propelled me forward into a new era of my life story when I signed my name on the dotted line to join the Armed Forces….It seems like ancient history now, though it’s only been 18 years, to the day almost, since I began basic training. Unfortunately, my time in the service was ultimately cut shorter than I anticipated it would be by a decision based, at least partly, on….FEAR. We can make the choice to let our fears make our choices for us or we can become aware of what is taking place and utilize it to our advantage.

One way I do this is by planning. I LOVE to plan activities, vacations and of course, my own training schedule. I have even helped others plan for various events! Rather than allow fear to decide, I make the conscious decisions necessary to be successful in whatever mission(s) I happen to be working on at the time. Is there fear of the unknown? Am I afraid of failing at whatever it is I happen to be working on? ABSOLUTELY! Am I “successful” at every single mission I set out to accomplish? NO! What drives me more than the fear of failure though is the fear of NOT trying. The fear of growing “old” and having done nothing in my life to affect change. The fear of hitting my 90th birthday and looking back with regret, not at all the mistakes made for that is a natural progression of life, but regret for all the things I “should have” done.

I had a conversation with a friend a few years ago and we were discussing getting older and my unhappiness with this prospect. They told me that there’s no use in trying to fight aging, it’s a fact of life and therefore unavoidable. I told them, of course we all age and eventually die, but I will go kicking and screaming the entire way. Like the poem by Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night, 

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas

Until next time my friends……USE your fear rather than be used BY your fear

Peace~

(From The Poems of Dylan Thomas, published by New Directions. Copyright © 1952, 1953 Dylan Thomas. Copyright © 1937, 1945, 1955, 1962, 1966, 1967 the Trustees for the Copyrights of Dylan Thomas. Copyright © 1938, 1939, 1943, 1946, 1971 New Directions Publishing Corp.)

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