Sunday, October 1, 2017

Fear Itself

John Kennedy famously said:  The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

How many times have all of us been afraid of something and found that our greatest fears did not live up to reality.  It's those moments where we reflect and say "that wasn't as bad as I thought!".  We almost feel silly for worrying so much.

As caregivers we have likely come by our fears for good reason.  We have likely experienced heartache beyond what most people can fathom.  With Tyler I came to expect that bad things would happen.  So many endless nights sleeping beside him in the hospital will wreck you as a person.  My fear became waiting for the next shoe to drop.

Unfortunately fear perpetuates itself.  It feeds off of itself.  It becomes its own self-fulfilling prophesy.  It tells you to give up before you have a chance to lose!  It makes you look only at the worst-case-scenario

So what does JFK mean by this statement?  We cannot live in fear.  Regardless of what our situation is...we cannot live in fear.  Our minds enjoy tricking us by making us believe that everything will crash and burn.  I was afraid that Tyler would break down if we were not taking care of him, yet he has survived and thrived.  I was afraid that by leaving my job of 13 years I would lose everything, yet a month later I realize I am not only ok, but doing much better.

Why do we do this?  My opinion is that we are conditioned as consumers to protect against the unseen bad thing.  Think about it, we are surrounded by ads that show us how awful it would be to be bald, or impotent, or have eyelid pain.  We think we either are already a victim of these things, or we surely will be.

Have you ever had one of those maddening friends that always seem to survive everything?  No matter what risk they take they come out just fine.  These people drive me crazy!!  Its like they have teflon clothing and can walk through fire and not get burned.  But why can they do this?

I believe the answer is that we can either choose to live in fear, or choose to live without it.  Rod Stewart sings "Luck is believing that you are lucky.  That's all.  And showing just a little bit of faith".  Just as fear feeds off of itself, so must feeling confident.  

Being a caregiver is extremely difficult.  But it will be difficult regardless if we walk in fear or not.  So why can't we learn to walk with that teflon jacket too?  Things will still stick to us to be sure, but maybe we can win some of the smaller battles, which can only help in the long run.

Be well and God bless.    Tom

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