Auntie Says…

Auntie Says…What are you afraid of?*

Sometimes it feels like the whole world is going crazy. Whether it’s terrorism at an Ariana Grande concert, raging wild fires, the death of a loved one, or a scathing remark from a ‘friend’…they can all have the ability to stop you in your tracks. Your heart races, palms get sweaty, you lose sleep, and things that once made sense, now seem turned on their side. It can make you realize just how little control you actually have, and that in itself, can be very scary.
As per Wikipedia, “fear, is a feeling induced by perceived danger or threat…”. This is a very basic definition, but Auntie wants you to be aware of it and the affect it can have on your life. Fear can sometimes be a visceral response based totally out of emotion instead of rational thought. Imagine having to speak in front of a crowd. There’s no real physical threat yet it can cause you to freeze and be unable to function.What may be a breeze for some is sheer terror for another.There’s also the deep seeded fear involving the fight or flight response where life and death appear imminent…like fleeing a wild fire.
Do you know where your fears lie? Is your fear based globally, in your community, in your own home…or maybe even in your own head? Does fear grip you when you watch YouTube or news casts? Does it creep in every morning as you’re opening your eyes? Is the fear external or internal? Do you fear for yourself or for others?
That’s a lot of questions I know, but if you stop and think, it may help clarify your own situation. Fear can rule your life through manifestations of anxiety, stress, and heightened awareness; fear may also creep into decision making, thus shattering your confidence and blocking the freedom to be who you really are (or want to be).
What happened in Manchester, was heartbreaking and senseless. It’s an extreme act specifically meant to instill fear and the likelihood of that happening to you is so remote that unless you’re traveling in high risk areas, your radar can be lowered. It’s the same with recurring natural disasters, such as wild fires, earthquakes, or hurricanes…just to name a few. Media often shove them to the forefront and this can heighten fear. If you’re at ground zero, you have no choice but to act, but if you’re out of the zone and still have a fear of a natural disaster striking, you may need to take a deep breath and step back…turn off FaceBook/YouTube, make a plan of action if/when something does happen, and accept that your fear may be larger than the reality of the situation.
Depending on where you find yourself in relation to fear, you may have to go talk to a professional. If your fear hinders everyday activity, is present even though you know it’s not rational, or is so crippling that functioning through daily life is difficult, then you need to seek help. A good start may be with your family doctor or local mental health.
The thing is, you can never, ever, give up hope. Fear itself can be so debilitating and drive you to your knees but it doesn’t have to rule your life. Knowledge is power and sometimes when you sit down and study the reality of the situation and what can and can’t happen, you empower yourself and feel more in control. Try it.
So…is fear holding you back from doing what you want, or need, to do? You’re the only one that can answer this and it may be harder than you think. The answer is very telling as it shows where you are in many areas of your life. Whether it be maturity, confidence, or a willingness to explore alternatives to live, or think, outside of the box, you’re the only one that can identify and deal with it.
As an Auntie, I’ve seen many young people miss opportunities simply because they couldn’t find the courage within themselves to move forward.
The world is a crazy, scary place sometimes, I know, but somehow, you’ll find your way because the alternative is scary too.

*First published by Black Press July 28, 2107

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