When we are afraid

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.” ~ John Lennon

I saw this recently (probably oon Facebook) and I was struck by it – not because it is particularly profound or an idea I haven’t heard before, but because it suddenly seemed to describe my anxious self. I have other selves – my depressed self, my opinionated self, my crafty self, and many others. But for the last couple weeks, my anxious self has been mostly running things. I do and think a wide variety of things as coping mechanisms:

Sleeping more – sleeping in and taking naps

Hanging out with my doggies – snuggling and going for walks

Sitting in whatever room my husband happens to be in just for proximity

Watching TV

Listening to music

Reading a book

There are a lot of other things I do some less constructive than others. But for the most part, the one thing all these coping mechanisms have in common, is that they more or less keep me cooped up inside my house or in the case ofndog walking, they keep me alone. All of my coping mechanisms keep me “pulled back from life”. This makes a lot of sense to me, because one of my primary anxiety triggers is people I don’t know or social situations where I can’t predict what will happen (which, as it turns out, is all the time).

So, intellectually and even in my heart, I know that I am keeping myself from the world, but I find it to be a herculean task to act in any other way. I have to continually remind myself that I am doing the things I need to do to keep myself functioning in my small corner of the world, even if that means that I am restricted to that small corner.

How do you cope? And do you find yourself pulling or currently pulled back from the world?


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