Friday, November 28, 2008

Fear and Other Uninvited Guests

Well, I just finished a book. That alone should suffice for an entry. But I’ll elaborate. It is entitled, “Fear and other Uninvited Guests” by Harriett Learner. She brought up some novel thoughts on the subject. Here’s the upchuck version- We all experience anxiety about one thing or another. Each person’s thing is different. I thought it was hilarious that she feared the drive to a jail to give a presentation more than the presentation itself. Crazy. Everyone has their things. If we are experiencing anxiety, we are normal and probably taking good risks. Everyone freaks out. Habits become a safe place for most of us. We must not let ourselves (myself) get driven back into our routines and safe places just because getting out of them causes a little discomfort. Unhappiness is a gift. It propels us to try new and maybe more fulfilling paths. Pure listening- listening to the other person’s point without thinking of how to defend one’s own. Talking when you should- when it is uncomfortable to, yet necessary, but not expecting results, just doing what you need to do. Negative thoughts create unnecessary emotional drag. Sometimes trying to believe in something good works. Even pretending to be okay puts us on the path to being okay. We don’t always have to be unaffected by life’s woes. Don’t always have to have a positive attitude. A fear of public speaking may just be an inability to let oneself be real in front of a lot of people. Shame is holding yourself accountable to a lot of imaginary people for something they probably don’t think too much about. Instead of hiding it, talk about it. Just like anything that is worth doing takes practice, courage does too. With time, our fear lessens.

So next time I walk down these hospital corridors to see someone who’s sick and feel the anxiety hit my chest and my cheeks start to redden and my breath all of the sudden difficult to find, I’ll remember that maybe I don’t need to be the most entertaining visitor or say the perfect things for the situation. They’re probably going to be on medication and fall asleep mid sentence anyway.

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