Last night I went to bed accompanied with a headache and two teardrops. The reason for my tears was our guests, who wanted to eat, sleep and live in our kitchen. They did no harm, but I couldn’t welcome thousands of ants running in circles all over my kitchen floor.
Today I will welcome you into my imperfection. As a wife and a mother I’m often exhausted, tired and worried. I long to have more energy and joy. The times when I do not know when the train will arrive or my destination are the worst. At this moment, I have to be patient while my son has problems in his school, my daughter’s favorite word is “no”, my husband’s leg is broken, and I’m a recovering addict of Facebook.
When the frost hit my village and the sky darkened, the homework yelled, Facebook laughed, the laundry fought against music and flickering TV, when the e-mails were a mess between screaming “mommyyyy”s, I was exhausted. When my hunger was angry, my thoughts were happy and tired, my feelings were annoyed with my fatigue and sadness, I became tired. Pictures of threats, criticism, war victims, drug addicts, doomsday prophecies, starving babies and sick fanatics made me tired.
The fact that I couldn’t comfort, encourage, heal or give faith, joy, hope, peace and love to the people, who were grieving, starving, poor, confused, lost, stressed and depressed, made me tired. My eyes were tired and shed a tear of powerlessness which said: “Am I too tired to live?”
Photo credits Volkan Olmez
“Come”, the silence said.
Do you have fears? Congratulations, you’re a human being! It’s perfectly normal to fear. Everyone has fears, I know I have a couple (or thousands) of them. We cannot avoid fear, but let’s investigate what fear is, and what we can do about it.
Let’s take an example of exposure of fear:
I see a bear; I panic and run away.
What actually happens is a cluster of nuclei, the amygdala, in my brain reacts to my sight (references: Anette Prehn and calmclinic.com). The amygdala stores all my experiences and emotions. It especially remembers unpleasant feelings, it remembers dangers and reacts on all dangers and all what resemble to those dangers. Amygdala causes a strong physical reaction and my instinct is to fight or flee. This is very useful when we meet actual dangers as dangerous animals, nature disasters, and violence.
Hey, wait a second. Let’s watch the bear again. It turns out the bear is a beetle! My amygdala thought the beetle was a bear, and therefore I panicked. When the amygdala reacts on “false” dangers, it’s not constructive. Fearing false dangers can stop you from following dreams, hopes and calling. Fear can stop you from living your life. That’s a good reason to be serious about fear and decrease fear factors, and what triggers your amygdala? Emotions or environmental impulses: thoughts, words, smell, sounds etc. Events that remind you of an unpleasant experience from your childhood trigger your amygdala. Changes, new people, exams, threats of unemployment, high expectations, noise, suppressed feelings and unexpected events trigger your amygdala. Stress triggers your amygdala.
You can’t avoid fear, so what can you do about it?