This is always a category that seems to make people nervous especially when it forces one to reflect deeply within, making yourself vulnerable. Also, going to a place you may not want to go is even more scary than attempting to avoid it at all costs. Hopefully, this blog will allow people to learn not to be afraid of life, of others, but more importantly of yourselves. Although an old cliche,"You have nothing to fear but fear itself," is a powerful metaphor. Without realizing it, one can control the fear within. What other choice do we have?; otherwise fear will choose to consume us without hesitation.
Although I will be talking about my fears, thus far in life, I have taken every effort to ensure that these fears don't become a reality. Who knows, maybe that's the one good thing that can come from this...to know your fears, acknowledge them, and be motivated to ensure they don't survive in the depths of your mind's existence.
My biggest fear is being alone. Although many people may welcome aloneness, I resent this fear more than anything. I love people, social embraces, welcoming and warm friendships, my family, etc. Put me in any social situation and I will find a way to make it work, no matter how awkward. I enjoy talking to others and sharing knowledge, viewpoints, and personal philosophies or goals. I love to hear about how people have overcome obstacles in their life, and what gives them strength to continue.
Being around people, especially those I love brings me a sense of comfort, joy, safety, and an ability to believe in myself the way others believe in me. People can serve as positive reinforcement, and are there to remind you of all the good you possess, encourage your strengths, and be real and truthful when it counts. Being around those I love makes me feel complete. Thus, it's no surprise why I would hate to be alone in life. Being alone would make me feel unloved, inadequate, unworthy, and more important, unacceptable. These are adjectives I use as forms of contempt as they are all the opposite of what I believe people to truly be.
Second fear would be not being physically or mindfully healthy. Everyone goes through aches and pains, but not being able to have full use of your limbs, you are infected with an incurable disease, or you have some sort of mental health illness, can leave one feeling helpless, but even worse, hopeless. A sense of hopelessness is the most self-defeating cognitive distortion one can own. Not having the ability to see, hear or walk again can be devastating, i'm sure. Imagine not being able to see the wonders mother nature has to offer us, or not being able to hear the tranquil and serene sounds of Mozart. I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to feel like you're trapped in your own mind filled with disembaraging thoughts, and feel like you can't escape, or worse, that you don't know who you are anymore.
Life has a grip on our sense of identity and inner solace, each combating to let loose and be the first to not surrender. I can't even imagine losing sight of what once was so real and precious, reachable and attainable, only to give it all up or at least adapt accordingly to the ails of life's insensitivities.
Third fear is not having anything more interesting to say. What I love perhaps equally as people is talking. The ability to tell a story of day's events, trips taken, baking wonders or blunders, or even recalling the news, is a wonder in and of itself. Life has a way of continuously forcing us to converse and use our words. One might even argue that's what life is, a series of things, events, people, and places that we were meant to encounter, discover, appreciate, and then converse about so that what we know, what we have learned can be passed on for others to embrace so they may continue the path of personal discovery....a so called enlightenment of truth, presence, and more importantly, being. Imagine what it would be like to be in the midst of people daily and all you can say is, "How are you?" How is/was your day?" How uneventful, for the most part. How mundane, day after day. How would anyone ever get to know who you are? Perhaps for many of us, that is the point. However, I see nothing exciting in that. We can learn a lot about ourselves simply by the encounters we share, the people we meet, the day-to-day "mundane" (ie. going to the grocery store, laundromat, daycare, picking up the kids from school, etc..) Although one may think these things are trivial and routine, you'd be surprised of what can happen to you, even just standing at the bus stop.
Let's see.... in my university days, just standing at the bus stop is where I met all sorts of interesting people with interesting stories to tell. I was given a bouquet of flowers from a complete stranger (albeit, I think it was a dare); I was practically proposed to (albeit from someone who I think wanted to enter the country on a visa); and I was given the opportunity to possibly volunteer/work in the police force in exchange for a date (not by a police officer). While I was on a plane, I was even propositioned for a business deal, although that never came to fruition. As you can see, just the day-to-day can even liven up our lives and make for interesting conversational pieces if you just allow yourself to be open to and embrace whatever comes your way. Allow yourself to acknowledge opportunities and embark upon possibilities, and NEVER dismiss anything that could potentially be of worth/value. Believe me, the day my life stops becoming interesting enough to share is the day I lose my voice forever; and even then, I would find a way to continue my story.
Finally, my fourth biggest fear is the ability to find myself NOT caring. I like to think of myself as a caring individual with a zest for life and a passion to help others, especially in need. I hate to see people who are less fortunate scraping the bottom of garbage bins just to find leftover scraps of food. I hate to see people dishevelled and inappropriately dressed for inclement weather because they can't afford to dress warmly, or even dress at all. I used to volunteer quite a bit when I was younger for all sorts of causes; however, since I became a full fledged societal working member, I have neglected my drive to help those less fortunate. The likely excuse......TIME. Sometimes because of the nature of my work as a Child and Youth Counsellor, I often tell myself that my job is where I devote my sense of caring. There are many days that I often wish I could be doing more, or at least something different. Teaching those who feel helpless to be able to help themselves is rewarding in its own way, but sometimes I wish I could be doing more for those in need. Like what, you ask? Good question! That's part of my problem and is what I struggle with daily. What more can I do and for whom? If we look at the devastating destruction in Haiti for example, there have been so many lives lost. There are more frightened souls lingering the streets, begging and fighting for survival, food, shelter, etc. It's so sad to see how one nation is suffering, and mother nature has made sure of that. There is so much loss and grief in the world that it's easy to just dismiss it, or say that it doesn't matter because it doesn't effect you personally, but to someone these things do matter. Part of what makes us human beings is our ability to love, to be altruistic, empathic, and to suffer. Imagine what life would be like if we travelled our life's path without anyone to care for or to be cared for. Life would be a pretty lonely and desperate place. What keeps me going is knowing that I can contribute to help those suffering and that I have the ability to give in order to be able to make someone smile, laugh, feel free or happy, even for a moment. The great thing about paying it forward is that that moment can be a day, a week, a month, a year, a lifetime for someone else, and that's what makes it all worth it.
The day I wake up and say to myself, "I just don't care anymore," is the day I have lost my own will for happiness and the desire to be the person I want to be.