One of the hardest life lessons to learn and relearn is around fear. We have such a tendency to cluster our life stories around fear for those things that we cannot control. And if there’s one thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught, it’s how little control we truly have.
Of course there are healthy fears. These are the things that keep us from putting our hand in a pot of boiling water or frolicking with a wasp nest.
How much time do we give though to unhealthy fears that are based on all that could go wrong with a situation over which we have no control; particularly when the situation can also work in our favor? This is the kind of fear we need to address. It’s the fears which keep us up at night and that occupies our waking moments.
So instead of being in the here and now, being fully alive in our present lives, we give our thoughts to imagined problems and catastrophes.
Then when these imagined catastrophes are never realized, we move on to the next fear, and the next. The months and years pass. Fears come and go, and are forgotten about as soon as whatever we were fearing didn’t happen. And all we did was give our thoughts over to fear, and along with it, our health, our opportunities to experience joy, and our time with people and circumstances who are here today.
Even when fears are realized and bad things happen, all of the worry we surrendered to ahead of time did nothing but cause a lot of build-up around things we could not control or avoid. For if we could have changed things, we would have.
How much mental space do you need to be devoting today to fear, then? How much more of your present life needs to be lost forever to the things that you cannot control or change?
If there was ever a moment to be reminded of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s opening lines of his first inaugural address, it’s now: “So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”