Fear – it can be something that limits you in life and can prevent us from doing what we want to do. It can also make us do things we don’t want to or perhaps shouldn’t do. Most of the time it’s a negative emotion and one which can change our lives. Fear comes in many ways and I’m going to use this instalment of my blog to tell you about ways it affects me and how I cope with it.
The Ultimate Fear
As someone who has suffered multiple blood clots, I have experienced fear for years. Fear of getting another clot, fear that the medication may stop working, and ultimately fear of dying. It took me a while to actually admit how scared I was of dying. When I had my last clot, I was told it was a large one, and I was acutely aware that part of the clot could break off at any time, block my heart or my lungs and that would be that. For a long time I refused to confront this fear and as a result, I didn’t lead the life I wanted to, I kept holding myself back. It was only in recent years that I started evaluating my fears and came face to face with my fear of dying. The thing that turned it around for me and helped me to accept it was asking myself why I feared death. The answer was that I didn’t feel as if I’d done enough, seen enough or achieved enough. It made me realise that it was time to start living rather than just existing and be myself rather than who other people thought I should be. Many of us who live with a chronic condition or a terminal illness have no choice in the matter – fear of dying is there and we either accept it, cope with it and live with it, or it rules our lives. I chose to accept it and through working on my personal development, I can now look at my life, acknowledge the scary and not so good things, then look at the good things in life and know that I’m lucky. Lucky to have survived four blood clots and come out the other side to the point that I can help other people. I still don’t like the thought of dying (who does?), but now that I live my life congruently and with a positive attitude, I know that when it is my time to go, I’ll have made it worthwhile.
Fasten your seatbelts!
Coming to another of my fears, and this is a fairly recent one – I’m scared of flying. Even as I write this, I know that this fear is ridiculous – one of the biggest passions in my life is travelling and I have to get on a plane to fulfil this. The most recent flight I’ve taken was from London City Airport, and those who have flown from there will understand what I mean when I say that the take off and landing are quite an experience. It’s a very quick and steep take off which some may find exhilarating and others, terrifying. I dislike flying and it’s a control thing. The control freak in me starts dancing around, playing havoc with my stomach and making me totally irrational. Plus, it all starts when the suitcases come out of the attic and lasts until we have landed safely. So how do I deal with it? Well it’s definitely a challenge and a work in progress, but I now manage by using a meditation app once I’m on the aircraft and prior to flying I mentally relinquish control to the highly qualified pilot who will fly me safely to my destination. When I was coached about my fear of flying, my coach asked me if I felt the same when I got on a train or in a car. After I thought about this, I started laughing – I get in a car or onto a train on a near daily basis and think nothing of it. Being coached around this really helped me to look at different aspects of my fear and deal with the cause.
Everyone’s fears are personal to them. In the last past of this month’s blog, I’m going to share what I think is a minor fear of mine, but I understand that for some, it’s a very major fear – spiders. A few months back, I was finishing up a coaching session via Skype and had only just signed off when I saw a large spider inches away from my laptop. Screaming, I ran to the opposite corner of the room and phoned my husband who was on the train. “Get back home now, I need you to get rid of a spider!”. I inched my way back to where the spider was to keep an eye on it, scared that if it moved, I wouldn’t know where it was, and for almost half an hour I was frozen to the spot staring at it. My husband eventually got back, dealt with the spider and I felt jumpy for the rest of the evening, imagining phantom spiders running up and down my arms. This incident made me realise that whatever fears everyone has, they can stop you in your tracks. So next time someone says what they’re frightened of, don’t laugh at them and call them stupid, listen to them, put yourself in their shoes and try to understand their feelings. It’s a real privilege to be let into someone’s confidence, and by helping someone to get over their fear, it could be a life changer for them.
What fears do you have and how do they serve you? Does your fear stop you from doing something that you want to do? If you think back, how much of your life has been taken up thinking about or coping with your fear? This is a good way to start dealing with it – the realisation of how much your fear takes out of you in terms of time and emotional energy can be frightening in itself. Why not spend ten minutes now thinking about this and jotting your thoughts down. Once you have done this , write down how you think you’d feel if the fears didn’t exist.
Don’t let your fears limit you – work on liberating yourself or at least managing them. As a coach, I can help you look at your fears from different angles and work with you to put an effective coping system in place. Contact me here to get started!