Fear is a bully. Treat her with kindness
Every day I live with Fear. She is sometimes rational and sometimes irrational, but ever so present. And I am sick of it. Because it is no way to live life constantly overthinking how things could hit the fan. Fear of failure, fear of standing out too much, not standing out enough, not being enough for not even yourself, letting very important people down, there’s a slew of things I secretly fear.
And I don’t know about other people, but in my head, it’s a little voice, a little character with weird hair and a grin that spells trouble. She is a bully for all intents and purposes. And since I have been bullied many times in the outside world, I dealt with it as follows: don’t speak up, hold your head down, and wait for it to pass. But Fear is something that was born when I was and grew as I grew. So I think a different approach could shed more light on this matter.
In the big bad world, bullies are usually very insecure people, with problems beyond understanding for the ‘normal person’ (what is normal really?). Their lives are soaked in domestic violence, substance abuse, psychological problems, and the list could go on. They rarely have friends or family, and even those relationships are strained. They don’t have a steady point where they can turn to, so they try to make everyone else’s lives just as miserable as to not feel so alone. At least that is what I believe, I have yet to read studies on this topic.
But I think Fear is just the same. She never had a friend growing up because her demeanor freaked everybody out. And even if I fear many things at the same time, it’s always the same little voice in my head. So she is the only one of her kind inside there. She argues with me why I should fear things, how it will affect my life and what effects it will have when the inevitable failed outcome occurs.
Many things could be done here. I could listen to it, which is the most destructive path. I don’t recommend that. I could reverse the tables on Fear and tell her she will fail. That even if she is screaming in the back of my mind like a toddler during a tantrum, she will not succeed. She does not have that power over me. But like any toddler, she sometimes does get under my skin and every day cannot start with the knowledge I will have to fight the same battles with her. I want to aim for a higher and more stable success rate.
So maybe I should take the toughest road, the one less traveled. I can become friends with Fear. Try and rationally comb through her abandonment issues and tell her that she has a friend, that she has a purpose, and if she chooses, she will have a home.
Because Fear is not always wrong. Her instincts are sometimes the best weapon I possess. But since we live in a relatively safe era, toning it down would be helpful.
So I think, the next time I see her (which will probably be the next time I open my eyes in the morning), I will try and empathize with her. Get close to her as a friend. Because in all honesty, we have been sharing a mind-space for almost three decades, but I still don’t know her favorite color or favorite movie.
I pride myself that I have quite a lot of international friends and less within the borders of my country. Maybe I should start with something that is within the borders of my mind. Because I think with a little kindness, Fear could turn out to be a hidden friend.