Embracing Fear

I am scared. I’m having surgery, and it’s really making me nervous. I’m currently sorting mail from 2009, it’s that bad. Normally my filing is chronological (with some local turbulence, where I had to root around in the pile to find something).

A few weeks ago I spoke to a colleague who was also having surgery, and she seemed very relaxed about it. It wasn’t anything major, but then I’m not getting a heart transplant either. And she’s always moving so fast, perhaps she never stops long enough to be scared. Or maybe she just didn’t like to say.

It did make me wonder: are other people less afraid than I am? Or are they just better at hiding their fear, or ignoring it? And is that a good thing?

– Heresy n°3 –

Emotions are an essential part of our being. To accept ourselves is to notice our feelings and to accept them.

We are taught to reject all our negative emotions, to suppress them, to ignore them, or to distract ourselves from them. Don’t worry. Don’t be sad. Don’t be afraid. Cheer up. It’ll be alright, I promise. How often have we heard these phrases?

But when I am afraid, or I am sad: that’s me. You’re telling me not to be myself. At the same time all these things are meant kindly. What they mean is: “I can see that you are sad/scared/… and that makes me sad/upset… because your happiness is important to me. I would like to help you feel better.”

Sweeping our negative emotions under the carpet guarantees that they stay with us. In order to let them go, we need to walk through them, to let them be there. In other words: it’s OK to be sad, or afraid.

The other day the fear was even worse, and I took the time to sit down and feel it. I even allowed myself to realise that I can still call the whole thing off if that’s what I want. At the same time the alternatives are not that great. For now, I’m OK with doing it.

Am I still scared? Sure: I dare to be scared.

And I may even get that pile of letters cleaned up.

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I like blue.

6 thoughts on “Embracing Fear”

  1. walk through your fear, as if you internalise it because somebody tells you to cheer up or to keep going it will build up inside you until it gets too much for you to bare!
    so if you need someone to talk to i can read your blog and your thoughts if you want to share. but i am sure that you are a ninja and that you will get through this one, it will be even more of an achievement it you are mega scared.
    keep smiling

  2. Yes, it is perfectly okay and perfectly reasonable (when you really think about it) to be scared. Embrace it, feel it, write it, draw it, punch it, walk it out – do whatever you need to do to feel your way through it and it will start to dissolve. I love the cartoon on this post – such a perfect example of true friendship, comfort and companionship. Sometimes we don’t need words, we just need a quiet companion who will listen and cuddle us. Hugs to you,

  3. This was a very insightful posting, and as someone who deals with fear, it was very much appreciated. I think some people are less afraid and others are simply good at hiding their fear. but what I think the key might be is having faith. Faith that everything is ‘right’. Faith that we’re where we’re supposed to be and faith that what’s happening is supposed to happen and faith we’ll get through it because we’re meant to get through it. Not necessarily faith in any higher being or dogma, but in ourselves. By the way, I love your drawings.

  4. Thanks. I’m not sure about the faith. I personally don’t believe in providence of any kind.
    I would go for acceptance: whatever is, is.
    Maybe the two aren’t as far apart as one might think?

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