How to reduce the fear in your life
There is one thing everyone in my immediate family can agree on. We don't like to be told "Drive Carefully." It is a pet peeve that unites us. It's a reminder we don't need in bad weather. Or good weather. We don't plan to go out and drive recklessly. The truth is I say it myself. It slips out of my mouth. We live in a fear based culture. We are exposed to a lot of negativity on a regular basis. I barely watch or listen to news reports anymore. I can't handle it. I just went to check the weather and read a special weather statement warning me about a rain/snow mix heading my way and how dangerous driving will be. And in addition, I saw this headline, "Meet the first mammal species to die off from climate change." There you go...I just wanted to know the temperature and now I am worried about driving and climate change. It's a lot of fear in 30 seconds. No wonder cat videos are so popular! We need something to calm us down. I think we are always on alert now. Always fearful. Always worried about what could happen. Always questioning and expecting bad things to happen. We have been conditioned. It's how media works. It's how many churches fill their pews. It's how commercials persuade us to buy their products. Fear sells. I was thinking about this today after a conversation with a wise friend. We were talking about how often we make decisions out of fear and not love. We are afraid we won't be liked so we go along with other people. We are afraid of a million things that could possibly happen in the future and so we live small lives afraid to take a risk because ______ could happen. We are afraid we'll fail. We are fearful of being judged. We are fearful something might happen to our kids if we don't control every aspect of their lives. We are afraid if they don't follow the script (high school, university, establish a career, find a partner, buy a house, invest for retirement, etc.) that something horrible will happen to them. We are afraid of missing out. But what if we could start making decisions and living out of love instead of fear? We might make some of the same decisions but I'm guessing life would feel different. Instead of coming from a place of deficit, a place of scarcity and fear we can make decisions from a place of hope and abundance. And what if part of that love was directed towards ourselves? What if we learned to really love ourselves? I had an unusual situation in my family recently. Something out of the ordinary happened and without sharing personal details it was interesting that everyone responded out of fear. Even I did! We struggled to take things at a surface level. Each one of us expressed fear that someone was trying to take advantage of a person in our family. We all questioned the motivation of one individual. And it turned out we were wrong. There was nothing sinister going on. We had misjudged out of fear. Our skepticism and lack of trust felt like we were protecting ourselves. We mistake cynicism and skepticism for wisdom. It's not. We need love in this world. We need to make decisions based in love. We don't need walls. We don't need more insurance. We don't need more protection. We need to learn how to love. We need to love ourselves and each other. Stop and think about your decisions. How many of them are made out of love and how many are driven by fear? Here are some suggestions for curbing fear in your life: 1. Limit your exposure to news especially television. 2. Don't watch crime shows or scary movies. You don't need more things to be afraid of. 3. Talk about your fear and anxiety with a friend. It helps diffuse the what-ifs and fear based decisions. 4. Practice self-care including getting a good night's sleep as often as possible. 5. Limit social media - especially platforms like Twitter. 6. Meditate 7. Spend lots of time in nature. 8. Learn to trust your own wisdom. It's a big conversation and a long newsletter. I am going to record a podcast episode on it this week. I'll post it in the next newsletter or look for Reframe Your Life on your favourite podcast platform. And follow me on Instagram for updates on when it is available.