This article helps you understand more what fear really is and how to deal with it…
Fear that life will steal what is important to you
Fear is like a labyrinth with many twists and turns. It has a lot of disordered paths where you can easily get lost. What is peculiar to this labyrinth is that it is populated by monsters; monsters that threaten what you value. You fear that those monsters will end up taking away the good things you appreciate; that they might take away aspects of life that are important to you, such as the presence of your loved ones, health, safety, or a job that you enjoy. Some of those monsters devour hope, when they prevent you from believing that you can achieve something that really matters to you.
Fear that something negative will happen
Another threatening fear is that something negative will happen: an accident, a failure, an unwanted diagnosis. The worst of those monsters, the most terrifying one, is the fear of losing the people you love; losing a loved one for various reasons – because they have to go, because they die, or because love has vanished and they abandon you. What agony it is to think that something like this will happen.
Repeated fears prevent you from seeing where you are going
When there is fear, it is like walking through an interior labyrinth, trying not to find those uncomfortable road companions that, like a dense fog, prevent you from seeing. Because when these monsters stick to you, they become your shadow and do not let you see where you are going. Then you lose the thread. You become unable to remember the direction, and instead of enjoying yourself along the way, you lose yourself, repeating again and again the same steps: fear of losing, fear that you have no worth, fear of failing, fear of being wrong, fear of abandonment, fear of suffering, fear …
Getting out of the labyrinth of fear:
1. Do not let your monsters grow
There is only one way out of the labyrinth of fear. Do not let those monsters grow so much as to prevent you from seeing the exit and paralyze you. You cannot make them disappear. We fear because we are aware that time is advancing, that many things change, not always in the direction we want, and above all because we care about those things.
2. Become aware that you fear because you love
You could say that we fear for something or someone because we love them. And this is good. It is good that we are not indifferent, that we care about what we are living. It is good that we care, especially, for people.
Fear is the sign that we are concerned about something; that we have a passion for what we are doing, and that we are aware of the fragility, the passage of time, the immeasurable value of many experiences and moments. That is not bad. But you have to prevent that fear from becoming a monster that paralyses you because is becomes the one that traps you in its labyrinth.
3. Try to accept that bad things happening are part of the journey
The trap of fear is to make us flee from things that are part of life. Of course, you will always experience failures. It is part of the journey. Of course, sometimes you will lose something for which you have worked so hard to achieve. It’s not the end of the world. And, above all, you may even loose – for whatever reason – people you love. Because we cannot chain ourselves to them. But would you rather not have loved?
“Do not be afraid”
I think this is what Jesus meant to say, when, again and again, he tried to tell his disciples what it means to live like Him: “Do not be afraid!”.
When evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s go over to the other side of the lake. They left the crowd behind. And they took him along in a boat, just as he was. There were also other boats with him. A wild storm came up. Waves crashed over the boat. It was about to sink. Jesus was in the back, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him up. They said, “Teacher! Don’t you care if we drown?
He got up and ordered the wind to stop. He said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still! Then the wind died down. And it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Don’t you have any faith at all yet?
(Mk 4: 35-40)
Based on the original Spanish text written by: José María Rodríguez Olaizola, sj
Translated by: Fr Jimmy Bonnici
Published: August 2019