Fear has not been my friend lately. In fact, it is one of my biggest obstacles to recovery. I worry about things that I obviously cannot control. Control is something I was never given growing up. I didn’t have control of my body, my voice or anything else.
Every day, I lived in fear of abuse or someone finding out about the abuse. The thought of someone finding out I had been abused was probably worse than the actual abuse. I couldn’t imagine how people would react, but in my mind it would be completely shameful and I would be in “trouble” for allowing it.
The fear of not being in control has been with me to this day. So to combat that fear, I would just block feelings and experiences. That way I was “in control”. No one could hurt me because I didn’t take a chance on that fear becoming real.
I have learned that fear is a reaction to thoughts that may or may not be realistic. But fear is what keeps me from moving ahead. Sometimes the feeling of fear is so strong that we look for ways to dissociate or ignore what it is we are dreading.
But courage is a decision. It’s not the absence of despair, but the capacity to move ahead in spite of the despair. Courage is being able to say to yourself, “I have lived thru this and I can take the next thing that comes.” If you risk nothing, you gain nothing. Courage is like a kite. Only an opposing wind can cause it to raise higher.
There are 6 characteristics of a courageous person.
- Feels fear but chooses to act.
- Follows their own heart.
- Hangs on in the face of adversity.
- Stands up for what is right.
- Expands their own horizons.
- Faces suffering with dignity and faith.
Courage is better than confidence. Confidence is the eventual outcome of experiencing successful acts of courage. Everyone is afraid of someone or something, but it’s how you deal with the fear that matters.
Emotional courage is gained by being open to negative and positive emotions. It is gained by asking forgiveness and offering forgiveness to others.
I saw an acronym that I thought is helpful in learning to use courage.
C Compassion for yourself and others
O Overcoming fear and self-doubt
U Understanding and using your own strengths
R Recognizing all that you have accomplished
A Adapting to situations and being flexible
G Growing and learning
E Endurance and strength to keep going
I mostly write about my fears in order to try and come to terms with them. I share my fears with Mrs. A and I also use my faith.
One scripture comes to mind when facing fears and trying to be courageous. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind” (II Timothy 1:7).
No matter how afraid I am, I can trust that God has got me and He wants me to have a “sound mind”.
You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience you have that causes you to stop and look fear in the face. You can avoid the suffering and sorrow but you simply cannot learn and feel what you need to, in order to change and grow and live and love.
Until next time, I am being MJ everyday.