Solo Survivor

The Fear Factor…


I have been thinking about fear a lot lately. Having lived in this state for decades, I am finally at the point where I am sure there has to be a better way. I have heard and read a lot recently about 2 zones – the love zone and the fear zone – and how our thoughts, and ultimately how we feel and act, are based in one of these two zones.

I have said for years that fear is what kept me safe and alive. Fear has driven so much of my behaviour for so long I am not sure I know how to live without it – it seems to be my default mode. I am overly cautious all the time. So now I am on a quest to start living in the love zone and it’s harder than you may think. It’s all about changing my thoughts – being aware of what I am thinking and feeling and realising which zone I am in. Quite eye-opening once you get started.

Fear has made me believe it was my friend but it has been lying to me. I am realising it has been my captor and I no longer want to be it’s prisoner. I want to go to the grocery store without having to consider how busy it may be; go to the park or beach with friends on a sunny day without worrying about crowds; join a choir; attend meet ups even if there are lots of people going. Fear makes me think I am constantly unsafe so I have decided to break up with it. Easier said than done I am sure.

My new car is an automatic and has cruise control and when it’s set, driving is almost a mindless act. Fear has been my ‘cruise control’ and my default for the longest time. It’s time for me to switch to manual mode and be intentional about watching my thoughts and about the messages I input into my heart and mind. Not easy to do when you are tired and it’s all you can do to get up and make it through the door in the morning! I am trying to watch my thoughts and the script going on in my head.

I am having glimpses of hope and it makes me long to be free from the tentacles of fear, dread, anxiety that are touching every area of my life. I want to stop hiding and avoiding and be open to new adventures and possibilities; to step out of my comfort zone.

I have gone through a large chunk of my life with a downward glance – watching the floor so as to avoid eye contact with a stranger. If I don’t notice you maybe you won’t notice me and it’s be safer that way. But you miss so much going through life this way. I was reminded of a song that I heard as a kid – ‘walk tall, walk straight and look the world right in the eye’ – that’s rather confronting for someone like me. It demands courage for the socially awkward being that I have become.

The starting point, I think, is to finally accept I cannot change any of my yesterdays. But I also no longer have to let them control and affect my tomorrows. Instead of being bitter or resentful or wishing I could hit the erase button, I need to accept the past cannot be changed. My past is not my future. The sooner I can forgive myself and others, the sooner I will be able to start walking tall and truly living and loving.

Part of the process is feeling the grief and I seem to be doing that lately. I watched the movie Dumbo for the first time the other day and it completely levelled me. I found myself sobbing but unable to articulate the reason. Fortunately I was alone, safe in the confines of my home.

I am on the verge of facing a whole new set of challenges as my job gets sent to India. I want to be able to face the challenge without fear being my companion. This time I want to hold my head up high with hope and expectation that I am still useful, I can still make a difference in my world. This time I will not borrow trouble from tomorrow.

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