I don’t know about you but I’ve had times in my life when I’ve been afraid. Not the kind of afraid you feel when a bird comes swooping towards you, or the type of scary that a horror movie brings about but the sort of afraid that leaves you gasping for breath. The kind of scary that leaves you paralysed like a hedgehog in a car’s headlights. The type of afraid that has nothing to do with where you are or what surrounds you, but the terrifying that lives deep within you and follows you everywhere.
Do you know the sort of afraid I mean?
It seems strange that in western countries where we have little to truly be afraid of, no lions or tigers, no soldiers roaming the streets, no exploding bombs, that we can be so deeply traumatised by life that we simply cease to live it. And yet this has been my experience and those of many people I have met over the years. It seems the less we have to be afraid of the more fearful we actually are.
So what is it that terrifies us so?
In our current culture there seems to be a need for certainty, a desire to understand what the future looks like and to know for sure that we are going to be okay. We are taught that life is ‘supposed’ to look a certain way and when it doesn’t measure up, or we are worried that it may not, we become afraid. But the truth is that life is constantly changing. In fact change is the only thing you can rely on.
So how do we marry up our need for certainty with the uncertainty of life?
The only way is through the acceptance of what is. It is the constant fight against the reality we see, and the uncertainty of what may come that causes us to be anxious and afraid. When we give up the fight and surrender to what is, we have the opportunity to start from where we are and build anew. Fighting will make you feel out of control whereas acceptance puts the power back in your hands.
Be in the moment
If you want to be sad, live in the past. If you want to be anxious, live in the future. If you want to be peaceful … Live In The Now
The past is anything that has happened prior to this minute. We often think of the past as being less recent. Perhaps a few weeks, months or several years ago. But anything that isn’t ‘now’ is in either the past or the future. So the quickest way to acceptance is to live in the present moment. It is the only place you have any power. In this moment you can choose your responses, choose your thoughts and choose your actions.
Focus on what you have
Never let the things you want let you forget the things you have
Being grateful for what you have, rather than focusing on what you have lost or don’t have yet, will remind you of the good that exists around you. Keep your eye firmly on your reasons to be thankful and you will begin to see more reasons to be grateful.
Find joy in the little things
You don’t have the power to make life fair but you do have the power to make life joyful
Finding joy in the little things allows you to feel more joy. Be glad that there is a flower blooming outside your window. Be happy when you hear the laughter of children in the street, at the school or in the supermarket. Smile when you see an animal at play or hear the birds sing. Turn you face up to the sun and breath deeply. Allow happy memories to come to mind.
Give yourself permission to be happy
Happiness is a conscious choice not an automatic response. Mildred Barthel
Its incredible to think that we need to give ourselves permission to be happy but for most of us this is the truth. Giving yourself permission to be happy, despite the reality you believe you see, shifts your focus. You will still have moments of sadness but these will be balanced by the happiness that you choose to feel. It really is that simple.
So next time you feel afraid of life remember to find joy in the little things, be grateful for what you have, smile and focus on this moment, right now. As you do, your fear will melt away leaving only the sunshine of your happiness.