Fear of the unknown, fear of the future, fear of the past, fear of trying new things, fear of leaving your comfort zone, fear of moving on in life, fear of following your dreams, fear of new relationships, fear of death, fear of what other’s think of you, fear of moving past a bad relationship, fear of heights, fear of traveling, fear of airplanes, fear of crime, fear of water, fear of dogs, fear of cats, fear of abuse, fear of what could happen next, and the list goes on! I am certain I have left out a fear you might have! Let’s face it we all have fears. They cause anxiety and paralyze us from making our lives what they should be. I learned about fear after my daughter died. I was never one to really worry. I had always been a super confident person, even though I had some tough times before her death. I was able to move on and keep trying. When my daughter was murdered I went to the other side. I did. I woke up paralyzed with fear the day after I learned of her death. I became immobilized, I could not move nor make decisions. I had teetered on the edge during my divorce, and her death threw me into that fear tunnel. A tunnel I saw no way of leaving. I am sure my behavior seemed strange to others. I was paranoid. I thought at any minute something really bad would happen again. I couldn’t get close to anyone, I lost my ability to show love, affection, or any feelings at all, and I still have trouble showing my feelings to anyone.
I am a warrior now. A fear warrior is what I call myself inside my mind. I write down my feelings and I share them through my writing. My blog is my therapy. I know I seem so courageous because I have done so much since she has passed. I feel that is a part of her left inside of me, her spirit is part of my soul now. Let me tell you a bit about Misha. She was a strong-willed child. She seemed to live without fear as she grew into a teen. I as her mother felt fear for her every time she was not with me, especially in her last months as she had moved to a new state which I always felt in my 6th sense was not a good place for her to go. As parents we always have fear for our children, but when we actually lose a child the fear becomes reality. We cannot help but become fearful ourselves. I have done my best to overcome this fearful way of living that encompassed me when she died. I am not sure how I got better, but I slowly did. I want to share some of the things I do to cut the overall helplessness that fear brings about. I do this in hope I can help others. It is not something you can just get rid of by changing the way you think; you need to actually change your way of looking at your life.
1. Try to focus on the now. This day, this moment, the little things that make you happy. I know this sounds so cliché, we read about this ‘living in the now’ all the time. It really works. If I am having a serious day of anxiety, I use meditation to let go of my anxious thoughts. I have no control over others, nor the future. I repeat that to myself while meditating.
2. Let go of the past. Again, part of ‘living in the now’ philosophy. However, when we can’t sleep and wake up in the middle of the night, it seems the past rears its ugly head. I was so guilty of going over my past that it had to stop. I was the only one who could put a stop to this mind racing momentum that could only do me harm.
3. Try new things, things that you actually might be fearful of trying! I have started mountain biking. I would see people here in Colombia riding bikes all the time. I see them going up steep areas; bumpy mountain roads. I would think “I could never do that!” Guess what I am doing it. This was a fear that I put in my mind without any actual knowledge about this sport. Just because I thought it looked too hard, I thought I couldn’t do it. I am now improving every time I take my bike out.
4. If you have a dream that you always think about, you should put into motion how to carry out what it is you want. When Misha died, I decided to move to Colombia based on a thought process that life is short, another familiar tune that goes with ‘live in the now”. I thought since she died so young, I couldn’t know what the next day would bring. So, I just did it. I moved to a foreign country. I have been successful and I can now speak Spanish. You might fail, but at least you have tried. I am in no way living a perfect life. After all, I am just starting my business, but I get messages all the time about bookings here at Villa Migelita. I am learning through trial and error. I think I am going to do well, but along with my Bed and Breakfast I have fulfilled my dream of retiring in the mountains.
5. Do things you did when you were a young person. I learned to ride horses when I was around seven years old. As we get older we lose memories, but I remember riding my first horse at a friends ranch in Davie, Florida. It is like riding a bike, it stays with you! Over the years I would ride horses, but after moving to Colombia I realized it is a part of the culture. At first I was so intimidated. The horses here are beautiful and the riding style is different. I just said to myself “try it” and now I ride a lot. I am not fearful of riding in the mountains where I go along paths that have drop-offs because the horses lead the way, and I know they will take care of me. The freedom I feel while riding in nature is exhilarating. Anyone can do this. The horses are well-trained and extremely beautiful. I always tell my guests when they express fear of riding…just try it. They are always very happy they did.
6. Make a list of your fears that bother your thought process. Confront these fears and think of a solution to help rest your mind and your soul. I have found letting something continually bother me is more upsetting than finding a solution. There is always a solution if you weigh your options. I never give up. Patience is key to letting go of fear within yourself. Remember to be kind to yourself.
7. Talk to someone if you feel you need to. Talking about our fears can make them less important. Another’s perspective can make a big difference. I want to try the Parapente (para-gliding) and have not done it because of fear. I talked to my guest from Australia who explained the sport to me and how safe it is. He used to have his own parapente and has informed me about the way the air flow works and now I am ready to try it.
8. Over thinking! Just stop it. We over think our fears. A relaxed mind will offer you a solution. I know when I have a night where I am stressing about all the things that worry me, I always make it worse. Then I wake up in the morning and the solutions come to me. Fear is based on worry and over thinking. Try to let your mind be free and divert your thoughts to pleasant memories, beautiful images, and good choices.
When we incorporate simple changes into our lives we start changing our life! It is an ongoing process. I have bad days when it is super hard not to look back and say “what if”? I use all the tools I have available to help myself on those days. They work. Remember, you don’t have to be completely without fear, you just need to not allow it to control you. Please comment in this post about what is your biggest fear, and how you help yourself cope on days the fear feels overwhelming. I am sure many of you have great ways of losing fear. I would love to hear from you.