fear is not responsible


Welcome back to my Intangible Cage series. Every Tuesday for six weeks I am sharing things I am learning about getting rid of fear and anxiety. I must say, I was overwhelmed with your feedback. Seems like I am not the only one who deals with fear. Welcome to the journey peeps.

I mentioned it last week, but we all have issues that hold us down and leave us immobilized. That issue is fear for me. Fear is tricky because sometimes it looks like the responsible thing to do.

Daughter has a cough? The responsible fearful thing to do is research every terrible disease that it could be a symptom of and then play those scenarios out. Forget resting and staying hydrated. This could require hospitalization. I need to know the symptoms of lung cancer right?

Husband is away on a trip? The responsible fearful thing to do is think about what would happen if his plane crashed. That isn't the kind of thing you want to be caught off guard on. I should decide now what I would do if that situation were to occur. What would I do for a job? I need to make sure our finances are in order. Oh, and I need to freak out about the thought of becoming a single parent.

Have a dream in your heart? The responsible fearful thing to do is pick the idea apart. What could possibly go wrong? How bad would failure hurt? Is this too embarrassing to pursue? What is the ideal situation and lets wait for that to come to pass. Which will never happen.

My list could go on and on. Seriously, it could. I could write it off as my personality or my wanting to be prepared. However, I don't work for FEMA and therefore do not need to have every scenario lined out.

This "responsible" attitude keeps my wheels spinning and makes me stressed. I use all my emotional energy living out possibilities in my mind. I internalize my panic. When my friend calls she will get a girl who has shut down. She won't know that my child got lung cancer, I became a widow and my dreams died all in a single day.

Because they didn't. None of those things actually happened, but if feels like they did. It is too embarrassing to tell someone I imagined all these tragedies and so I act as if I am not emotionally exhausted. Which is even more tiring.

My "responsible" life is draining the energy to use in my actual life. The energy I could use to play with my daughter who has a mild cold, talk to my husband who called to tell me his plane landed early, and chat with my friend about my latest dreams.

Fear isn't responsible. We call it all kinds of noble things to mask our worry and anxiety. Life will have some really hard days. So, why ruin the good ones?

I don't want to lie to myself that my fear is noble or some sort of higher road. It isn't. It steals from me. Just another reason this intangible cage has got to go.

Does your fear ever seem responsible to you? I'd love to know. Keep the emails, tweets and comments coming. Here's to another week venturing further outside of our cages!