Monday, October 20, 2008

The power of fear

Perhaps because this is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, there have been many stories on TV, in magazines, and online about cancer, of fear, of surviving …these all hit home; and they also make me aware not only of Breast Cancer, or Cancer in general, but fear…and how much of it we all have.

We have fear of our dying, fear of the ones we love dying, fear of growing old, fear of ageism, fear of separation, fear of commitment, fear of inadequacy, fear of never reaching our potential, fear of poverty, fear of losing what we have, fear of never having anything, fear of small spaces, fear of too much space, fear of heights, fear of not being seen for all we may be, fear of being seen for all that we may not actually be, fear of being alone, fear of crowds, fear of terrorism, fear of being attacked while at home, fear of being attacked when we are out of our home, fear of global warming, fear of overpopulation, fear of winter, fear of water, fear of bugs, fear of dogs, fear of germs, fear of a lack of control…so many fears.

Then there are the survivor stories; people who have been through some of the worst circumstances that a person can imagine. But they have gone through it…mostly because they had to, because lets face it, what is the alternative? You fight to live another day. There is a common thread I’ve noticed to many of these stories; these survivors often say that after having been through what may be the worst times of their lives, they are afraid of nothing anymore. They have looked fear in the face, and conquered it, and for that they are grateful and forever unchanged. I believe this to be mostly true. For me personally, there are many challenges that no longer rock me, but I don’t think all these survivors speak completely honestly. There is one huge fear that overwhelms me…that may always overwhelm me, and I’m sure that I’m not the only one; the fear of not being able to always choose the fears I wish to overcome. If I choose to jump out of a plane, or to speak in front of 10,000 people; (when at one time I would be too afraid to do either of these things), this is my choice. If I get sick again, I don’t choose this; I believe the biggest fear that I have is that I cannot choose all of what I don’t want to happen.

So ultimately, what’s behind any good fear? The lack of control…this is the hardest one to beat.

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