What are you afraid of right now? I don’t care if you’re 25 or 95…or somewhere in the middle…we’re all afraid of something. And guess what? It’s okay. Fear is a valid emotion that we all will experience at some point in our lives.
One of the most significant lessons I’ve received from going to counseling is that it’s okay to feel what you feel. I grew up with a father who made me feel worse than I already did when I expressed certain emotions. Experiences like that, especially when they occur at a young age, can eventually cause you to hide your true feelings or learn to just stuff them away (neither being a healthy approach).
If you’ve read my bio, you know two important things about me. My faith is of the utmost importance to me and that I love teaching sociology. Both serve a very important purpose in my life. One of my favorite topics to teach in my classes is the topic of socialization. Simply put, this is the process by which we come to understand the world around us and this happens through something called “agents” of socialization. These “agents” include, among others, our family members. From the time we’re born, we’re constantly being socialized—for good and for bad.
If you grew up in a family where all emotions were allowed to be expressed (in a respectful way of course…I’m not talking about flying off the handle at your parents….you’re on your own with that one 🙂 ), then chances are, you’ve learned how to handle your emotions in a healthy way. If you grew up being reprimanded for expressing fear, sadness, or anger, or maybe being told “I’ll give you something to cry about,” or for my guys who are often socialized to not express emotion and to“stop all that crying!” then there’s going to have to be some relearning that has to take place in order to deal with the rational fears that you will experience. We’re all human and guess what? Fear is a valid emotion. I don’t care if you’re someone who’s scared of snakes, scared of clowns, scared of flying, or scared of losing a loved one, feeling fear is completely normal.
Now, here’s where my faith part comes in. We don’t want to stay in that space of fear. Fear can become debilitating if we don’t manage it. Own it. Feel it. Then give it away to the One who can handle it. I’ve had to “relearn” how to deal with my emotions and let me say, it is NOT an easy process. I once heard it said that healing is not for the lazy. It’s hard work but let me tell you, the payoff is so worth it!!
I’m learning that through my desire and goals of wanting to help others, vulnerability is a key factor. So, in order for you to know that I’m not just blogging about something I have never experienced, let me share some of things I’m fearful of.
Much like I teach my students, many things fall on a spectrum. Meaning, some things will be classified as smaller, others larger, and most things fall somewhere in the middle. On the smaller end, I have to say, I’m fearful of frogs. (Now let me say I really wanted to put this on the larger end of the scale, but if I’m being honest, it’s really not that serious. But for the record, I HATE frogs!!) LOL!
In the middle of the scale, I’m fearful of saying the “wrong” thing while teaching. I teach to many different people, with many different backgrounds, with many different beliefs. It’s nothing for me to have at least 150-200 students in one class. I’m also an empath so the last thing I want to do is to accidently offend someone (In the world of empaths, we will carry that hurt for a long time.) Yet, I also know that I’m pretty good at being mindful of what I say and how I say it, and my students typically know me to be an open minded and caring professor. If it were to happen, I would address it and hopefully remedy it with a sincere apology.
On the higher end of the spectrum, I have a fear of my daughter being harmed, ill, or hurt. I’m sure most parents can relate to this. As she continues to get older and tells me now, “Mom, I can handle it!” I can’t help but to think of the inevitable that may come that I can’t do anything about—a broken heart, a car accident, sickness, that person who doesn’t like her just because, the denial of a job she really wants, a loss of a friendship—all the things that truly hurt but help us to grow. Fear is real!
Over this past week, God has been consistently reminding me to trust in my faith over my fears. He’s reminded me several times of Philippians 4:6 which reads, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (NIV).
What I love about this verse is that God doesn’t just tell us to not do something. He also gives us a solution on what to do instead. Not worrying or being anxious about anything is a pretty difficult thing to do…and He knows this. Yet He follows it up by telling us to present our request to Him. And then guess what? He’s so amazing that in verse 7, He tells us what will happen when we do this. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Amen!
God knows we’re going to experience fear. He created us so why would He create an emotion in us that He doesn’t want us to feel? Yet, He loves us enough that He tells us to give our fears to Him, so we can experience peace. This is something I have to work on daily, but I have to say, I’ve definitely experienced the promise He’s given us of peace. His peace is real and it’s there for us to receive freely.
Whatever you’re fearful of right now (and Lord knows there’s a lot we can put on this list!), remember it’s okay. You’re human and we all experience this. However, I encourage you to work diligently to unlearn some of those things that may have kept you from embracing your emotions. This is the first step in moving forward.
Socialization is actually a lifelong process. You are not “stuck” being a certain way just because someone may have caused you to feel that your emotions weren’t valid. Feel your fear but know you don’t have to stay there.
I pray today is the day you trust in your faith more than your fears! God Bless You!