“All we have to fear is fear itself!”- Franklin D. Roosevelt, Inaugural Presidential Address, 1933
This quote came from a man facing one of the most uncertain times of the century. Many believe it was merely an attempt to calm the public enough to prevent more bank runs. Others say it was an inspiring moment of hope.
Fearing fear. What a weird concept.
I have learned a lot about myself over the last year. Nothing is more accurate than saying my deepest fear is actually feeling fear. I hate feeling fear. I hate even the thought of it. Whenever I doubt my abilities – fear reminds me of how inadequate I am. Whenever I feel rejected by people – fear convinces me that no one will ever love me. Whenever I think of an unknown future – fear tells me that I will never succeed. Whenever I think back to my many mistakes – I am filled with fear of repeating them. My mind has been programmed that if I am restless, irritable or discontented then fear is inevitable.
Fear has the ability to cripple me if I let it. It can prevent me from serving others, meeting my full potential, and from being connected to God. A wise man at a meeting recently said, “When I am living in fear I miss my assignment.” I do not want to let a day pass and miss an assignment from God. Especially if its because of my decision to sit in unhealthy fear and anxiety.
I’ve learned two solutions so far to get my “you know what” in gear if I feel an unhealthy dose of fear coming on.
- Pray. When I give Him the burden, things definitely get better.
- Serve others. When I turn outward the anxiety eases.
Lastly, my therapist has taught me a very helpful lesson. The lesson is simple: not all fear is bad. In my experience if I felt fear coming on then I always thought something bad was bound to happen. Fear is merely a natural response to a crisis. For instance, the crisis of losing my job brings a natural emotion of fear of unemployment. I have two choices on how to deal with fear. Let it grow to a toxic anxiety or take action and control what I know to control. The first choice has been my default most of my life so choosing the second option is hard but absolutely vital for my sobriety.
May I choose sobriety every time.