Bandalier National Monument
March 10, 2020
Too many of us grow up to be linear thinkers. We think the path from Point A to Point Z is a straight line and all the other alphabetical points lie on that line. (And to go with that, we grow up thinking answers to questions are binary - right or wrong, yes or no).
Fortunately life is not so simple. Life is like a wave, with ups and downs, some higher and some lower. Hopefully though the trend is upward but sometimes that’s hard to see when the wave is headed south. We, through our actions and reactions. have a great influence over how we respond to those ups and downs. As Calvin Hill told his son, Grant, “you are never as good as your best game or as bad as your worst game.” Calvin Hill could have added, “ but there’s a reason you should chose to be optimistic about your future!”
The following is from Susan David:
Around the world, it seems that chaos is the order of the day. When times are tough, it can be easy to get hooked into cynicism, anger, or fear. During these times it's especially important to remember that you own your emotions; they don't own you. There’s no need to be afraid of fear. It doesn’t have to call the shots. We can choose courage over comfort and put one foot in front of the other in the direction of our values and goals.
The world pushes us to handle our difficult emotions by faking positivity, pushing them aside or even banishing them from our lives. Putting on a fake smile and trying to "grin and bear it" through difficult times can prevent us from living authentically and learning from our feelings. Grief is to be overcome. Anxiety is to be defeated. Fear is to be conquered. But the truth is that feelings cannot be so easily suppressed. As anyone who has watched a scary movie just before bedtime can tell you, trying to bury our emotions only amplifies their hold on us.
The truth is, society’s narratives of bravery are broken. Wonder Woman and Superman can make it seem like courage belongs only to the invincible. If you’re not faster than a speeding bullet or more powerful than a locomotive, you need not apply. The denial of fear is even embedded in our language, where “fearless” is used as a synonym for courageous. If you’re feeling fearful, I encourage you flip that script. Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is fear walking.
Give yourself permission to be afraid. Don’t treat fear as an enemy. Treat it with compassion. Be curious: What is the function of the fear? Why are you feeling fearful? Then focus on making the next wise choice.
When you look at fear head on, you can begin draining it of its power. It ceases to be something unspeakable and starts to be something you can analyze and take steps to move forward with.
In the spirit of compassion and courage, Susan