As a single mom, I tend to hear every little noise in my apartment. I can lie in bed and hear when the refrigerator comes on, my neighbor flushes their toilet, the rabbit’s water bottle falls off its cage, my daughter turns over in bed, someone knocks on my neighbor’s door, a truck starts across the street… I hear everything, and each time I hear something, especially if it’s a noise I don’t recognize, I look like these prairie dogs. I perk up, my eyes open wide, my body stiffens… I’m on full alert until I figure out what it was.
With new stories of mass shootings, natural disasters, bombings, explosions, and poison-laced letters on a daily basis, how can we not live in fear? How can we avoid the urge to huddle up in an underground bunker to try to get away from it all?
“Fear isn’t an excuse to come to a standstill. It’s the impetus to step up and strike.” ~Arthur Ashe
“Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.” ~Helen Keller
So how do we overcome fear? First of all, I think we need to recognize that there are some things that are beyond our control. The way we respond, however, is within our control.
Reading through some of the stories from the Boston Marathon bombing is overwhelming. In the midst of fear, chaos, and devastation, heroes emerged. The heroes weren’t just the police officers, doctors, and paramedics. They were race spectators and runners, rushing to make tourniquets, carry the injured, and donate blood. They were Boston residents offering their beds and food. They were people who put their fear aside to help others.
With some of our fears, we simply need to be realistic. Yes, there’s a possibility someone may break into my apartment. Yes, there’s a possibility that a snake could bite me. Yes, there’s a possibility that I could fall when hiking. BUT there are steps I can take to prevent these from happening or to be prepared if they do happen.
Burglary – According to a U.S. Department of Justice report from 2010, households in higher density structures, like my apartment, were least likely to be burglarized (8 per 1,000 households) while a household resident was present, so worrying about having to defend myself and my daughter against an intruder is pretty unlikely. In my town in 2011, there were 439 burglaries per 100,000.
Snakes – Not all of them are venomous. It will probably hurt, but won’t kill me.
Hiking – Stay away from the edge. Wear the cords and gear if scaling a cliff. Use safety and common sense.
On a piece of paper, break your fears down. Be realistic. Make a plan for the worst case scenario. Don’t let your fears rule over you.
There are things we can do to live fearlessly. Action is probably the best remedy. When we’re doing something, when we’re facing our fear, we can become fearless as our fear is replaced by determination, motivation, or even fun.
“Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom.” ~Mary Ferguson
So don’t let recent news keep you from going out and enjoying yourself. If you do that, you’ve allowed someone or something else steal your freedom.
Go out and live unhindered by fear!
“People living deeply have no fear of death.” ~Anais Nin