On days like today, I’m reintroduced to my frenemy, Fear. She’s such a bitch.
You see, when I have a “bad foot day”, it scares the crap out of me. My health is like a hill covered in clay instead of dirt. You start walking down that hill, and you’re flat on your ass covered in mud before you can even blink. I get a small warning; maybe I’ll have two bad days in one week instead of one, or maybe my bad day is more painful than it was last time, but that’s all I get before everything just slips through my fingers. Sounds melodramatic right? I wish I were exaggerating. I can go from fully functioning to not being able to walk in a month’s time.
So when I wake up and I’m instantly slapped in the face with more pain than usual, Fear comes to stay with me for a little while. She’s such a shitty roommate, too; she sleeps on my couch, eats my food and basically turns everything upside down. She tires to convince me that I’m going downhill again, that before I know it everything I’ve worked for, all of that walking and creating a life where I’m not disabled, will be gone. I hate her so much.
The reality is that one day, my feet will get worse again. One day I’ll get my wheelchair back out, and then I’ll have to start climbing back up that slippery clay-covered hill for the 8 millionth time, working to gain back everything I lost in the descent. It scares me so much that when I really start thinking about it, it kind of takes my breath away.
I wish that I could just tell Fear to leave because she’s not good for me. More than anything, though, I wish I could tell her she’s wrong. I wish I had enough positivity and faith to believe that my health will stay the way it is for the rest of my life. I wish that when Fear came knocking, I didn’t let her in.
Obviously, I’ve yet to figure out how to do that, and I’m working on it like so many other things, but maybe I’m closer to conquering fear than I though. Ed and Deb Shapiro, authors of Be the Change, How Meditation Can Transform You and the World and contributors to Oprah.com have put together a simple construction of fear and how to handle it in an article called “Overcoming F.E.A.R.: False Evidence Appearing Real”. When I found this a few hours ago, I knew I had to share it firstly because I feel like a badass that I’m not totally screwed in the fear department, and second because it was super helpful.
They describe fear as false evidence appearing real. The fear feels so real, but it is a fear of the unknown, of the future, and not the present. Therefore it holds no weight. Fear aims to shut you down physically and emotionally. The Shapiros encourage all to be present with Fear. If you continue to deny or ignore fear, it will continue to hold you captive and keep you shut off from the world. They recommend replacing fear with its polar opposite, love. Love opens up your heart and even embraces fear. Love allows you to be fearless, and I loved how they defined fearlessness: “Being fearless does not mean you deny fear, it is not a state of being without fear. Rather, it is fully experiencing the fear, naming it, getting to know it and taking it by the hand so it can become your friend and ally.”
Obviously these are things that I need to work on, and who knows how long it will take for me to see Fear as my friend rather than my frenemy. How do you conquer your fears? God knows I could use the advice in this category.
If you’re interested in reading more by Ed and Deb Shapiro, head over to Oprah.com and check out the full article.
Food for thought: Fear arises from uncertainty, from the unknown. Do not run from it; embrace it. Maybe it signifies that you have something to lose. Maybe it signifies a desire for a better life. Do not wish to live a life void of fear. That would mean you no longer care about your life or what happens to it.