I’m back at it again, and because life is, well, life, I’m going to flip the script and rant a little bit. Everyone loves good old fashioned rant, right? It’s just, there’s something I’m so over. I’m sick of it hanging around or trying to burst my perfectly normal life bubble. And here’s the deal, it’s something everyone struggles with at one point or another.
Nope, it’s not a Netflix obsession, though many strong men and women have fallen at the feet of this powerful entity.
Let me set the stage a little. As part of my job I am required to stay up to date with current events. I’m also heavily involved with social media. Although this helps me tremendously in the doldrums of small talk or at fancy parties (Can you believe what *fill in the blank of a politician’s name* said? The Kardashians are truly taking over. Why yes, the stock market does suck right now.), I also find myself inundated with some truly horrible and heartbreaking news on an hour by hour (or with social media, on a minute by minute) basis. This is tough even for the most stable and formidable person, though, I’ve never really described myself as stable or formidable, so occasionally I find myself feeling a teensy bit overwhelmed.
I don’t think I’m alone in this. Recently, a news anchor who was fed up with violence and bad news said he was going to only post positive things for an entire day.
It’s odd that something like this is odd, but it is.
Fear is just the worst. I think one truly horrendous aspect of it, is its ability to morph into anything. Fear of failure, fear of death (ironic, because it’s the only unavoidable aspect of life), fear of looking like an idiot, fear of dealing with idiots, fear that you’ll never see Gwen Stefani on tour, fear your children will grow up and hate you, fear your children will never grow up, and on and on.
I think in today’s society the inundation of information is sometimes good, but sometimes it’s very, very dangerous.
We’re expected to absorb so much information from so many different avenues in so many different forms (long form rants on Facebook, airbrushed photographs on Instagram, flashing red news headlines on Huff Post, 140 characters of horrifying but weirdly tantalizing stories on Twitter), it’s no wonder our levels of anxiety occasionally topple the scales.
I have found really fantastic ways to combat anxiety and fear–there is nothing a big bowl of carbs and/or mug of the blackest of coffee with a best lady friend can’t heal. Meditation, my faith, exercise, and trashy celebrity magazines help tremendously, as well–but sometimes I feel like the kid from Matilda who had to eat all the chocolate cake even though it was an impossibly large cake (too much freaking cake)–overstuffed and nauseated.
But yesterday I bought one of my favorite author’s book so that’s something to smile about.
I’ve talked about Brene Brown before because, homegirl is a boss lady. She speaks truth like this without a thought:
The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It’s our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.
Talking about the dark stuff is uncomfortable and shabby and weird. Why is that?
Just because we avoid discussing the dark times, doesn’t mean they aren’t there. In fact, I think when we don’t talk about them they grow larger, stretch out their legs, and decide to stay a while. Our emotions are amazing, but if we let them rule us, they will oblige most enthusiastically.
I think speaking the darkness is the only real way to combat it. It’s the only real way we can show up. In her book, Brown gives great advice on finding ways to communicate struggle and show empathy to others.
Fear can also hinder us from taking chances. It whispers that we should live small, shut our beaks, and hope no one notices us. This comes from a place of people pleasing and worry, but it’s no way to live. When we speak our stories, we’re leaning into fear (fun times, right?). The leaning in is big, it can even be life changing, but you have to pull your head out of the sand and face whatever it is that’s waiting for you.
Here’s a hint: It’s probably not as bad as your mind’s making you believe. If it is as bad, or worse, then that’s when you turn to your core support group to hold space for you.
And because Tina Fey is a genius,
Follow your fear, which in improv usually leads to someone making you sing an improvised song or rap, which is the worst thing that can happen. But the larger thing is the notion that if something scares you a bit, it means that you should follow it a little bit.
Let’s get our improv rap on and face fear with defiance.
How do you deal with fear? Have you read any Brene Brown? What books inspire you?