Barring a very few enlightened souls, most of us, go through lives burdened by this immense baggage of our fears. What if I lose my job? What will people say? What if I never get married? With every new morning, we invent a new ‘what if’ that haunts us through the day.
Because our fears influence us so, we often refuse to take risks, and settle for much, much less than life would have happily given us.
One of the biggest and perhaps the most real fear amidst this never-ending list of fears is that of losing a loved one. Were we to lose a parent, a spouse, a child, we feel our own life would be over, nothing would ever be the same. In so many ways, these fears are true.
But equally true is the fact that life still goes on. That’s the beauty or the ugliness of it, depending upon how you want to see it.
I am writing to you from the other side of that fear.
Last year in August, my mom died after a prolonged and painful battle with metastatic breast cancer. For those unaware, MBC is basically a death sentence, with an extremely short life expectancy. The two-year period from her diagnosis to her death was the hardest time in my life.
But, I am not writing any of this for attention or sympathy. In today’s world, this situation is by no means unique or even overly tragic. So please bear with me for a moment.
If there is one thing my experience has taught me, it is that no situation is bigger than our fear of it. I repeat: No situation is bigger than our fear of it.
When mom was still alive, I used to fear the day that would actually be her last. I used to torment myself, staying up through the nights, playing that imagined moment when my mom would die, over and over and over in my head. It didn’t do me any good, didn’t make her any better, but just ensured I lived life as a nervous wreck for two long years.
That dreaded moment came when it was destined to. I cried, I broke down, I nearly died. But then it passed. And I lived to tell this story.
Don’t get me wrong, life is hard, very hard at times. I miss her all the time. There are days when getting out of the bed is a damn struggle, when I hate people just because they are alive when mom isn’t.
But then those moments too, pass. And I go to work at a job I still love. I play with the son who still needs me. I go on dates with a husband who is still my best friend. I try to be there for my Dad who now needs a companion in me.
In other words, when the worst is over, LIFE GOES ON. Good or bad, LIFE GOES ON. And it will, till the day you and I are alive. No matter how many loved ones we lose, how many illnesses or failures we have to face, no matter what other disasters may be written in our future.
What we often forget in all our fear mongering is that the human spirit is extremely resilient. Honed over countless generations, our strong survival instincts guide the flow of our lives. More so than anything else.
Whatever fears, big or small, that you face today; I assure you they have little bearing on how the actual situation will play out. By fearing the worse, obsessing about all that could go wrong; you merely weaken your mind, body and spirit. When in reality what will happen is that if pushed in a corner you will find a way to cope, to fight, to give it your best. Your instincts will guide you to a safe place.
And even if all you do is just put one step in front of the other, sooner or later you will be out on the other end. I PROMISE you. And it is only after you have lived these fears that your true strengths will emerge.
So while fear is natural, it is not really real. Tell me, wouldn’t it be a shame if you let a mere figment of your imagination, run or ruin your fabulous life?