Remember the Cowardly Lion

What are you afraid of?  What unknown keeps you up at night?  Are you sad because you are afraid?  Are you angry because you are afraid?  Fear is a very real state of mind.   In some instances, fear is warranted, and caution should be taken.  But I want to talk about the kind of fear that creeps into our thinking and then characterizes our actions and ultimately is a state of mind that robs us of our joy.

Fear is real.  Fear is complicated.  It is enough to know for this discussion, it is a brain thing and results in a fight or flight response, and both are stressful! I am afraid of the unknown.  I’m worried about the results of a medical test or my 16-year-old daughter has the car and the weather has turned bad.  I’m worried about whether I’ll be accepted at my new job and the list goes on and on and on.  

The reason for our worry is the unknown the ‘what if’ the test result is bad; my daughter has a serious accident, and no one likes me at my new job.  Try something next time you are confronted by the unknown.  Say out loud, “What if . . .?”  And answer it, out loud!  You may not like the answer, but now you know.  Ask this question from both extremes and answer it in response to both extremes, “Everybody loves me,” or “Everybody hates me.”  Chance is neither is true.

At the risk of sounding like a smart aleck, there are situations that cause us to be afraid that we can control.  Afraid of the dark, turn on the light or carry a flashlight.  Afraid of heights, stay off the ladder.  Afraid you’ll get the flu, get a flu shot and wash your hands regularly and let it go.  Many times, we can eliminate what causes us to be afraid.

Work, work, work on training your perspective.  How we see things, impacts how we see things. How we think about things translates in how we see things.  How we see things is how we respond to things.  Make sense? Read it again. How we see things, impacts how we see things. How we think about things translates in how we see things.  How we see things is how we respond to things.  I worried about the results of my mammogram.  Results were good, whew!  I received a multiple sclerosis diagnosis in 2006.  Why me?  Well, really?  Why not me?  Now I know and knowing is power!  Knowing, means answers and answers result in solutions!  But being afraid DID NOT change the outcome in either situation.

Don’t be afraid, it will be alright.  Heard that before?  Me too!  If you just can’t help it and you are afraid, share with a friend, a spouse or a mentor.  Don’t go it alone.

Let’s drill this down;
  • confront your fear
  • manage your situation
  • get your emotions in check
  • fear has you by the throat, don’t go it alone, sometimes some things need to be shared
Last word.  Remember the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz?  He asked for courage because he believed as king of the jungle, he should be the most courageous.  In fact, he demonstrated acts of courage throughout the story, but he didn’t feel courageous.  The Wizard gave him something to drink and told him that it would fill him with courage.  He drank the green stuff and it worked! Fear loses in the face of courage and we find courage when we confront, manage, gain perspective and share what we are afraid of.
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