I have been thinking a lot lately about fear and how it affects our lives. Our long-term lives, yes, but even more so our daily lives. In pondering how it affects me personally, I also have been thinking about where I show courage. Consider it an attempt to be fair to myself.
Painting from a very broad brush, I am not afraid of death. So far as I can tell (and I always leave room for the possibility that I’m fooling myself), I am not the slightest bit scared of leaving this plane for the other side. My trust and faith are strong. Metaphorically, I guess I just see it as the end of a video game. I’ll just go rest up before I start the next round.
However, I am very afraid of having to live with a debilitating illness. I am also scared of having to live past the loss of life of someone I love. Simply put, I suppose I am afraid of pain – emotional or physical.
I am also – for the most part – not afraid of the truth. Truth I can deal with. Truth you can take action upon and I am very much a person of action. What can sometimes scare me is the unknown. Not always, but sometimes a lack of clarity about the future can really unnerve me. Possibly like anything, it depends on the extent of the ramifications. Big unknowns can rattle me. Small ones, not so much.
Then there are the little things. I’m scared to death of spiders. And ticks. Oh, my gawd, a tick will send me into orbit! I’m scared of needles and terrified of dental work. The tiniest little problem with one of my dogs and I’m breathing into a brown paper bag.
I’m also scared of not living up to my potential. Of squandering a lifetime where I could have possibly made a bigger difference than I did.
On the other hand, I am beyond courageous when it comes to helping those I love. I will be their rock of Gibraltar when they need me to. I can look headlong into a challenge (if I fully understand it) and make plans of action, dismiss what I cannot change, and forge on. My faith in the Divine is unshakeable and I know it.
A wise person would look at these places where I show courage and think “well then why even care about the small things that you’re afraid of?” Even I would say that, except that I also know that we are human. The strength of my courage is only as strong as a scary diagnosis for one of my dogs and I’m a total mess.
Being “awake” to the situations where I have strength allows me to find my way through the places where I am not as strong. Knowing that I can fight like a gladiator for those I love can remind me that I can also fight for myself if I just remember I have it in me.
Taking stock of where we have courage gives us the ability to shut down our fears.
Where are you strong? How could that help you to get through your current challenges?
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