Often it is fear along with its brothers and sisters, anger and anxiety.
The only way to deal with challenging and difficult emotions is to confront them head on. The first step in moving forward is to acknowledge your fears, anger or anxiety. It sounds simple enough but it really isn’t.
Why? Because in admitting we are afraid, even to ourselves, we might become like the deer frozen in the headlights of a Mac truck roaring down the freeway.
If we admit we are angry, we might totally lose control.
We hang onto anxiety because maybe, just maybe, a solution will come. Only solutions don’t come because we are so uptight, we can’t think of any.
Fear, anger and anxiety make us feel helpless, defenseless, weak, susceptible and vulnerable.
We not only fear for security and physical safety, but our senses of worth and self esteem are threatened. Life has just revealed to us that we don’t have it all together, we don’t have all the answers and we can’t keep pretending we do.
We don’t want to be vulnerable – even to ourselves. Over the years we put together a personal identity and social façade that we come to believe ourselves.
Admitting our fears make us vulnerable, even to ourselves, and threatens our core identity. I am okay only when I have control over everything.
And therein lies the problem.
As long as we are afraid to confront and address our feelings, they will continue to hold us hostage. They will increase and become pervasive. Before we realize it, fear, anger and anxiety become a normal way to respond to everything in life.
But at a great cost. The stress of living with constant fear, anger and anxiety has a huge influence on our physical and mental health. It is estimated that 70% of illnesses can trace their roots back to chronic stress and distress.
It is what we think about and say to ourselves about what is happening in our lives that does the most damage.
If we are constantly rehearsing in our heads the worst case scenario for everything, we are putting our bodies on constant alert to fight or flee.
(See my book, Make Stress Work for You, available on my website).
On Thursday I will talk about how we can manage our fears. If we stay in a bubble of continual fear we will not be able to find solutions to make that next step forward.
©2013 Marlene Anderson