Eleven days ago I opened up. Since then I have made leaps and bounds getting back to my happy, go lucky self. It took longer than a week to reach the bottom so I am sure it will take just as long to climb back out, but the climb has begun. I have always enjoyed a good challenge so why not relish in this one also.
This week I came across a saying, "The only thing in life we have to fear is fear itself and ---- spiders." I got the willies when I read that. I could relate to both parts of this advice. Less importantly, I despise spiders. I set a rule with the creepy, crawly arachnids. If you are outside, you live. If you are inside my dwelling, aka, house, tent, car, etc you will meet your demise.
More importantly, is our relationship with fear. Certain fear is good and important at times, but fear can also stop us in our tracks, even paralyze us. Looking back I see I was letting fear creep into my head until it consumed my thoughts. I had all sorts of fears of being outcasted, fear of not living up to expectations, fear of not getting the job done well, fear of not attaining dreams and goals, and the list goes on.
Another term we can use for fear is worry. Fear might be a stronger feeling but I was worrying so much over a host of things it developed into fear to where I was suffocating. I had a nice talk with my priest about this. I was feeling guilty because I felt my issues were small in comparison to family and friends who were going through traumatic events in their own lives. But he helped me to understand that compartmentalizing each of my issues alone would have been no big deal. But add them all up and it is a big deal. Since I have a warped sense of humor I visualized our dog Barney going pooh on the lawn. He does his business and we dispose of it each day. But if we left that pile of pooh there each time he went after five years there would be one huge pile of pooh.
That's where I was at, under a pile of pooh all because I was worrying about this and that and over things I really didn't have any control. When I read that saying I realized my worrying was turning into fears. The addition of the spider comment made me remember how I am slowly overcoming my fear of spiders also. How did that help? I developed skills to not freak out when I saw spiders.
First thing I did was set boundaries. I can't control everything but I can control myself and what goes on in my own house. So spiders die inside. I am not going to harm anyone if they enter my space but I can kill my own negative thoughts that may creep in my head. When I am out and about, the spiders are free to do as they please and I just avoid them, go around them, or view them at a safe distance. This works really well for situations that irk me as well.
I don't think I will ever like spiders or be comfortable enough to let them crawl on me. At least now I can enjoy them in an esthetic way and respect their diversity. We can overcome fear, it takes time and a skill set unique to each of us based our own circumstances. We just need to remember fear is an emotion that can help us in certain instances but most of the time it does more harm than good.