My Biggest Fear | Self-Care Strategies for Fear part 1

 

Wood wall background. Older teen with pink hair, long lashes and purple eyeshadow, younger teen with shaggy brown hair, middle-age man with backwards hat and sunglasses, middle-age woman with short curly hair, and young teen with shaggy brown hair - all smiling. Tag: fear self-care strategies

My family and I, on my 43rd birthday

My kids are my achilles heel. If you want to bring me to my knees, distract me, or hold me hostage – mess with my kids. When they are hurting, it stirs up every anxiety and fear in me. A couple of years ago, one of the three was having a particularly rough time and subsequently, I was a wreck.

There are multiple versions of every story. Different details, different perspectives, different angles, different altitudes – that, if we consider them, completely transform the story.

From heartbreak to miracle.
From depths of hell to merciful heaven.
From worst possible scenario, to amazing luck.

This rough time of my child’s, when now viewed through the wise lens of hindsight, was such a major catalyst for the growth of our whole family. It has brought us closer together, it has developed a depth and a maturity in the one who went through it, and it’s carved a wider valley for love and joy in me. This perspective, the one of hope, gratitude, and growth as opposed to catastrophe and loss, fills me with peace and upholds the dignity of my child and their experience. It feels empowering.

But while we were in the thick of it all? It was a terrifying nightmare that threatened to eat us alive. I wasn’t sure my precious kid would make it. I wasn’t sure I would either. I wasn’t sure of anything, and that unsureness allowed space for my wildest fears and most heartbreaking regrets to take up residence in my mind. They grew and grew and smothered me with thorny tentacles from every direction. It was hard to ever feel safe while living in this nightmare.

Monster in the clouds. Tag: fear self-care strategies

Photo by Michael Weidner on Unsplash

Fear is often at the core of our disempowering stories. When our thinking brain is hijacked by our reptilian brain, the worst-case scenarios take root in our thoughts, gathering energy and mass, igniting anxiety and stealing our joy.

So much energy is spent trying to escape the feeling of fear, that we often don’t allow ourselves the compassion and understanding we need while experiencing it. It’s like we’re running so frantically to get away, when that scared part of ourselves really needs us to stop and give it a hug.

Mindful awareness can be that hug we need. According to Lyra Health, mindful awareness means paying attention on purpose in the present moment without judgement. It helps us to cultivate a space for ourselves to just BE – without having to fix, change, perform, or DO.

When we shine the compassionate light of mindful awareness on the noxious weeds of our fears, we can see they’re not absolute truths. The light shines through in places. Holes can be easily poked through. There are gaps in logic and structure. What once seemed to be an impenetrable wall of sharp thorns and certain death, is now illuminated at the source to reveal a few vulnerable stalks. We then have the opportunity to pull them out by the root, and to plant and nurture the empowering seeds of truth.

Fear Self-Care Strategies: Resources for Working with Fear

  1. Self-Care for Stressful Times – 0.2 GS CEUs – Burnout Proof Academy Saturday School Series – October 24th, 2020 10 am – 12 pm PT
  2. Embrace and Learn from Your Fear of Failure – Lyra Health blog
  3. The Power of Vulnerability – Brené Brown TED Talk
  4. Embracing the Darkness – Brighter Focus blog

Baby Step: Take Action

Choose one of the resources above, set your timer for 5 minutes, and dive in! Working with your fears doesn’t have to be a long drawn-out process. Break it down into tiny doable pieces to prevent overwhelm and practice holding loving boundaries with yourself. This is one of the keys to being Burnout Proof.

Reflection

Over the next several weeks we’ll be exploring this process of identifying our thoughts, feeling our feelings, and cultivating more empowering and truthful beliefs.

Image of a tall brick building with fire escape stairs. Large poster on the side of the building reads, "How are you really?" Tag: fear self-care strategies

Photo by Finn on Unsplash

I’d love to know what your experience of fear is like and any questions you have about being with it or working with it. Leave a comment below or drop me a line and let me know:

What keeps you awake at night?
What does fear feel like in your body?
What do you typically do when you’re feeling scared, worried, or anxious?
What would you like to know about working with your fear?

Ok dear one, thanks so much for being on this journey with me. Until next time, take good care of your precious self.

With love,
Brea

This is part 1 in an ongoing series on Self-Care Strategies for Fear.
You can find part 2 here.

5 thoughts on “My Biggest Fear | Self-Care Strategies for Fear part 1

  1. Alyx Richardson

    Dear Brea –
    I can relate to fears about your child. For so long I was afraid that my child would never stop being destructive and threatening. When she was younger I was so afraid that she would never be able to make any friends and keep them.. I was so sick and did not know how to protect her from herself while keeping myself safe. We got all the help for her that we could, both privately and from the state, but it was never enough and didn’t work for her. She had one placement in a wonderful state facility that did help when she was a freshman in high school and it temporarily helped her get focused on her spiritual side, but the effects didn’t last. Attending church, even though we don’t attend, has been a nurturing experience for her and has helped her feel briefly grounded.
    Finally, when she first started getting into her adult years, the bad times passed for her as she became more mature and got a solid group of friends. Currently she has been getting bullied by both of her bosses at work in a retail store and she has been there for over a year, tolerating poor treatment. I still worry for her and do not know how to stop even though she is technically an adult. As she still lives with us, I can see the effects in her from the abuse. My fear that she will never live independently and will always be a doormat.
    I’m glad that you are being gentle with yourself and that you have tools to address your fears little by little. You are such a role model for me for how to live a healthy life full of self care and love. I try to emulate your approach to life, but have been sad that you are going through such a tough patch with your child. You have wonderful coping skills and can pass those onto your child, if they will accept the help. Here’s to hoping that your situation will improve daily.
    Alyx

    Reply
    1. Margie Rodgers

      Alyx,
      I applaud your determination to help your daughter mature and become independent. You mentioned that you received help from your State and if you haven’t done so, possibly you can contact an Independent Living Skills Ctr. to help you both to prepare her for taking care of herself on her own.
      For myself Family worship at church was beneficial, not “All solving.” It taught me to exercise and develop my Faith Muscles, which gave me strength to see past the “evident present” into the “possible future.” If possible and when you need to, Lean on other family members, and most of all God. We often try to carry more weight for our children and others we love, than we are really meant to carry. I pray the best for you and your daughter’s household’s lives.

      Margie

      Reply
    2. breanacrosscaldwell Post author

      Alyx,
      My children have been my biggest teachers, and one of the lessons I’m still working on is learning how to love them so fiercely while at the same time releasing them to live their own lives. Thank you for sharing your own journey with this, with me. We are beacons for each other, as parents, and I’m so grateful to be one of billions of others who’ve navigated this path.
      Sending so much love to you and your daughter, as you continue to find your way.
      Brea

      PS: I wrote this a while back. May it add to your sense of peace, Alyx. For Us: A Love Note for Struggling Parents

      Reply
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