For “the past little bit” [a decidedly Southern time increment, if there ever was one], something has been amiss with me. A “something” I have had difficulty putting my finger on; and those are the worst kind of somethings. Because how do you know what to fix, if you don’t know what’s broken, right?
The other day, though, I realized something. A lot of my emotional troubles are governed by the same overarching, negative little booger: FEAR. For example:
- What I think of as Loneliness is actually Fear of Friends Leaving or Friendships Changing Unexpectedly.
- What I see as Mopey-Single-Girl-Syndrome is really Fear of Not Finding/Losing The Right Person.
- When I complain about being Unemployed, I really am just Afraid that I Won’t Be Able to Be Independent.
Okay, so now I’ve gone from being “ambiguously emotionally troubled” to being a scaredy-cat. Not that promising on the outset. But, all is not lost. Apparently, there’s an antidote.
In one of his letters, Saint John writes, “There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out fear” [1 John 4:18]. And if you think about it, this makes perfect sense. In many of the scariest moments of my life, I have been comforted by the thought [or the presence] of someone or something I love.
So, I know I’m afraid. Great. And I know love can help soothe that. Excellent. What do I do now?
I Can Do my Best to Love G*d
Of course, I understand that books and books could be written on this topic alone. But in the simplest sense, I can start by spending time with Him, thanking Him, and talking to Him some throughout each day. He has, after all, loved me lavishly since Day One.
I Can Do My Best to Love Others
If there is one thing I am reminded of every single day, it is that I have been given more friends than I could ever hope to have. There is no logical explanation for how loving, sweet, hilarious, and downright talented each and every one of them is. Should you try to combine their good qualities into any given place without proper supervision, there would likely be an explosion that would cause a Triple Rainbow and simultaneous Reese’s Pieces Deluge.
So, maybe, if I keep focusing on how great they are, and trying to help them realize that, their presence and positivity can help put some of my fears to rest.
I Can Do My Best to Love Myself
I once had a therapist tell me, “You should really be nice to yourself”. When I really got a hold of that statement, I understood: I would never say anything to others like the negative things I tell myself. Undoubtedly I make it a lot scarier for myself than I need to by filling my own head with a lot of ridiculous untruths about who I am and what I “can’t” “won’t” or “may not” do.
The fact of the matter is, I will always have things to be afraid of. [And I think some of the things driving the fears I listed earlier are “legitimate” in that they are based on real things that have happened]. So, I don’t mean for any of this to be a cure-all. I have never trusted a Snake Oil Salesman myself.
But I think I may have taken three tiny little steps in the right direction.
Now to check in the closet, and under the bed.