In challenging times, take steps to overcome fear. The famous opening sentence of the Charles Dickens' novel, A Tale of Two Cities, begins, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair..."
According to literarydevices.net, "It tells about the time of chaos, conflicts, time of despair as well as happiness. It in fact tells us about the time of extreme opposites without any in-betweens." There are polarities that exist in all of life, including ourselves. Learn more at Polarity Management by Johnson, Pursuit of Passionate Purpose, Chapter 7 by Szczurek, and Go with the Flow by Szczurek.
Although published in 1859 about the French Revolution, this Dickens message also represents TODAY in a divided country and world. Such challenges can trigger FEAR.
Fear is a strong, unpleasant emotion associated with anxiety and fright. The known and the unknown — such as uncertainty — can trigger fear. There are at least two kinds of fear: irrational fright that you make up in your head and rational panic that comes from true danger. Both feel real. There is a time and a place for working through fear with persistence and another for getting out of the situation. Wisdom is knowing when to appropriately use each one of these.
Practical Pointers to Handle Fear
Eileen Joseph, philanthropic consultant, states, "We all face challenges. It is what we do with those challenges that make us the people we are."
- KNOW YOUR VALUES. In these turbulent times, it is extremely important to know thyself. What are your values? What do you stand for? Values define what is meaningful to you. They are an essential element in defining your passion.
- FACE AND NAME. Become aware of the discouraging forces, such as fear, that burden you. Identify and name them so it's easier for you to overcome. The way to work with obstacles is to admit them, not repress them.
- CULTIVATE. Develop the opposite quality. Intentionally nurture and build the opposing positive force. What is the opposite of fear? It is love! How can you cultivate more love in your life and in the world?
- SURROUND. Encircle yourself with supportive and loving people. Work together. Determine a strategy and plan of action.
- COMMUNICATE. Strengthen your non-violent, compassionate communications skills. See, for example, Do You Really Hear Me?
- LIMIT. In times where fake news and painful real news propagate, it's best to limit your intake. Yes, you want to be informed so you can take action, but overindulging in social media, broadcast news and cable can drive fear. Do a quick scan of headlines in print media and choose to read further or not.
- DEFEND YOUR VALUES AND ACT. Once you know what you value, you can protect, guard, and take action to ensure you live true to your highest convictions. Just do it!
Once while kayaking in turbulent whitewater, I found myself upside down in the water and unable to roll. It was more than I could handle and I experienced rational fear as part of an innate survival instinct. After unsuccessfully trying for years to improve my kayaking skills, I finally moved to river rafting so I could more easily work together with supportive and skilled paddlers while still living true to my outdoor adventure values.
As Eleanor Roosevelt advises, "You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
Overcome fear, cultivate love. Stand strong with your highest convictions. Know what you stand for. Take action to defend core values.
Theresa M. Szczurek (www.PursuitofPassionatePurpose.com; www.TMSworld.com; www.RadishSystems.com)
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