Rug pulled under my feet
In the last few days, fear has been a major feature of my thinking due to devastating news we (my husband and I) received. When we received the news, neither one of us could think straight, or comprehend the gravity of what was happening. We had invested a lot emotionally to a particular outcome (and became attached to the outcome) that we could not have imagined it, going any other way. That’s life – it never goes according to plan, it is completely unpredictable (basically life is hard). No matter how meticulously anyone plans or believes to have manipulated circumstances to one’s advantage – life is not in our control.
Initially the thoughts were to run and not experience the pain, the sadness, the fear, the despair and all the other emotions. For hours I was emotionally paralysed, I chose to be angry, because that felt ‘safer’. I felt by being angry I was ‘doing something’. I struggled, I was trapped and the real feelings remained frozen until I had the courage to acknowledge them fully. Bottom line I was sad, and very afraid. That was until I opened up to having an honest discussion about what was really going on for me. A trusted friend told me a story of a man she knew who attends a gym in a wheel chair. According to her, the man has no legs and only has one arm, but he turns up to the gym to work on his health. Now to me that is tough, but speaks volume of this man’s character and in essence – his resilience. If it’s pouring in my life, I can be 100% certain, that there’s a thunderstorm in someone else’s life. What I am currently learning is that, perception is key to everything.
Perception is everything
I realise that experiencing fear is a normal and natural human experience. I tend to experience fear mainly in two forms; fear of the future or fear of what people will think of me. By allowing fear to take control, I tend to then make impulsive decisions to try and decrease the fear. This results in me making decisions that are not in my best interest. In the moment, such awareness disappears, it’s only after allowing myself to acknowledge and experience the fear that I see my circumstances clearly. From an early age, pressing the ‘eject button’ (escaping the feeling), is all I have known to do – it’s a skill that worked effectively, but it no longer serves me. For that reason, it is important for me to understand myself, work on challenging these beliefs, being open to learning and ultimately acquire new skills. This will make it easier for me to go through anything and effectively cope with life.
So it is about focusing on today. What can I do just for today in this moment? It is easy to cry myself to sleep, to look for someone to blame, scream, attack, resent – to be angry. What is difficult is to respond instead of reacting. Even when I am faced with situations I believe I have no control over or am at the mercy of forces of nature – ultimately, I still have a choice.
Most importantly: either one chooses to be miserable or one chooses to have a sense of trust and confidence that, ‘something beautiful/good will come out of situations that are perceived to be negative’. Instead of fear, it is about having faith (nothing religious – trust), and this differs from individual to individual. According to a well known motivational speaker, Bob Proctor, fear and faith both depend on the belief of the unseen, therefore it is up to me how I choose to perceive a situation and how I will respond to it. I most likely will fail to put this in practice, it is about repeating the process over and over again – but I will continue to strive towards that objective.