After being exposed to the movies “Child’s Play” and “Carrie” at an impressionable young age, I decided I was done with scary movies. The gore, creepy music and blood curling screams just didn’t do it for me. It didn’t feel worth it to get scared to the point of having certain scenes haunt my dreams (ahem, final scene of Carrie).
What happens, though, when the fear comes from what is happening in the world around us? I’m not talking make believe any more. I’m talking about the very real fear of losing health insurance or being harassed because of your religion, skin color, accent and/or sexual preference. In my work as a life coach, I get to support clients in consciously choosing how to react to a given situation no matter how challenging it may be. If we’re able to break through fear, what’s on the other side? I believe it’s love.
Here are 5 ways to break on through to the other side (cue The Doors song).
1. Shift your perspective.
If the message going through your head all day every day is “I’m terrified; things are horrible” it’s likely not going to serve you very well. This becomes your lens from which to view the world and it’s far from rosy. Try instead to focus on what is good. For example: Jews and Muslims are coming together to rebuild destructed cemeteries and places of worship, millions of people worldwide are standing up to injustice and hate, US citizens are more civically engaged than they have been in decades. Try this message on for size: “We as a country are in an old rotting cocoon and, with time, will emerge as a butterfly!” If it doesn’t resonate with you, find your own new love-giving perspective.
2. Zone in on what you care about.
These times call for us to draw a line in the sand and step up. What are the one or two issues that mean the most to you and how to you want to protect them? What will you personally do to move them along? For example, say your issue is strengthening public education. Volunteer at your neighborhood school, call your representatives several times a week, and hang a sign with in your window. Once you focus on taking action and stepping up, you’ll be able to break free from your fear paralysis!
3. Find a role model
I’m not gonna lie- I was in a bad headspace from November to recently. I was terrified and saddened to the core about the direction our country was going. Then, I cracked open a book that my mom gifted me called “I am Malala”. It is an autobiography written by the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner. She advocated for girls’ right to be educated when the Taliban took over her region. Even though it was dangerous, she spoke out for what she knew to be true and made a huge impact. Reading about her incredible example has allowed me to step out from the immense amounts of fear and into loving action. The fear is far from gone but it’s significantly minimized now. I encourage you to find your own role model representing bravery and follow their lead!
4. Turn up those tunes!
Think of a song that makes you laugh without fail. Now go put it on. Did it work? Yep- that’s what I thought. For me, it’s songs from Southpark the movie. If the song titles didn’t have so many expletives, I’d name a few of them in this blog. Never underestimate the power of a good soundtrack to turn your mood around!
5. Educate yourself & know when to turn it off
With so much going on, we need to stay informed. There’s no doubt about that. By constantly reading up on what’s happening in our country and the world, we don’t have to fear the unknown as much because there is less unknown. That said, it’s equally as important to know how to clear your mind and kick your feet up. Set limits on when and what you’ll read. Keep sacred technology-free time.
Enjoy finding a new place from which to operate. Operating from fear is no way to live. Your life is about to get a whole lot better!