Miserable Dread, Blissful Ignorance, or Graceful Optimism?

It doesn’t take much for me to become completely unraveled by fear. As you know, I have been fighting hard against this instinct for the past two and a half months throughout the course of my Braver Than Before journey. Fear is my greatest battle in life, and I have been struggling with irrational fear ever since I was a small child.

How many of you, at some point in your life, have ever found yourself running at full speed up the stairs from the basement, convinced someone scary is chasing you? Surely I’m not the only one. Once you reach the top, somehow you instinctively know that you are safe… but you still need a few moments (or a few hours) to catch your breath and calm yourself down from the episode!

Or, have you ever had one of those friends who likes to sneak up behind you and then suddenly grab your shoulders and shout just to startle you because they think it’s funny? I have a few of those friends. In fact, I married one of them! Someone did that to me yesterday, and it probably took me twenty minutes to half an hour of deep breathing just to get my heart rate down and find myself back in a relaxed mental state!

See, it really doesn’t take much to unravel me.

And those are just a few of the silly, irrational things that can set me off. I haven’t even gotten into the actual stressors and triggers that life brings along every single day that can cause serious anxiety. Things like work deadlines, surprise health concerns, sudden changes to your schedule, failures, losses, financial emergencies. We all face these triggers at some point or another, and they all have the potential to completely unravel us.

So what do we do? Just miserably plod through life dreading the inevitable? Or live in blissful ignorance thinking that everything in life is perfect, and then be completely blindsided when disaster strikes? I don’t really think either of those approaches makes sense.

More and more in life, I am learning that a well thought out, intentional approach goes a long way. I don’t want to be unprepared to face major life crises. I don’t want to be caught off guard by a major repair bill or a sudden change in plans that creates an inconvenience for me. I don’t want to be a person who gets down and looses her cool, just because something doesn’t go my way.

It’s hard not to feel completely unraveled for a little while when someone grabs you from behind and startles you… but you still have a choice. You can be mad at them for finding humor in startling you, or you can laugh it off, calm yourself down, and move on. That’s what I did yesterday. And yes, it took me some time to bring myself back to a place of peace and calm, but it would have taken me even longer if I’d been angry or annoyed.

In the same way, when I face major stressors and anxiety triggers in life, I have a choice. I can let them completely derail me from the moment I come face to face with them, or I can choose to actively work through the symptoms they generate, coax myself back to a place of calm acceptance, and move on. It helps if you have something solid to cling on to. For me, that is my faith. I cling to Jesus, because I believe that He can carry me through anything.

I’m not saying this is an easy thing to do. I’m simply saying that to me, it seems preferable to a lifetime of miserable dread or blissful ignorance. I think life is better when you are willing to accept that you can’t avoid hardships, so instead you resolve to face them with graceful optimism.

What unravels you? What are your main stressors and anxiety triggers, and how do you prepare yourself to face them with grace?

5 thoughts on “Miserable Dread, Blissful Ignorance, or Graceful Optimism?

  1. windsofchange18 says:

    I can relate I have a fear issue always have and fear some of the same things as you . Some days are better then others. It’s a hard thing to conquer. .I just take it one day at a time. Keep doing what works for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nicolle says:

    I’m one of those lucky enough not to have big reactions when someone scares me from behind, so eventually they gave up doing it to me because I’m “boring”, and of course, it makes me a pretty unpopular partner to watch horror with. 😝 Doesn’t mean my heart doesn’t jump though!

    But one thing that really makes gets is a bunch of loud voices. It really makes my heart race and I get into a fight or flight mode; or at least it used to. Now my heart still races at one, but now I can catch myself and say, “Calm down! Do you see an angry face directed at you? No? Then it’s not for you!” ☺

    Like

  3. Nicolle says:

    I’m one of those lucky enough not to have a big reaction when someone scares me from behind, so eventually they stop doing it to me because I’m “boring”, and of course I’m a pretty unpopular partner for watching horror with. 😝 Doesn’t mean my heart doesn’t jump, though!

    One thing that really gets me is a loud voice. It makes my heart race and I get into a fight or flight mode, and it used to take me a while to calm down. Now at least I can catch myself and say, “Calm down! Do you see an angry face directed at you? No? Then it’s not for you!” ☺

    Like

  4. divorcehealingblog says:

    I have lived that way most of my life , feAr and more fear. Fear of leas than ideal outcomes. And this hits the nail on the head. I have chosen miserable dread for most of my life. Only now that I know how it has dismantled my marriage, am I seeking desperately to be optimistic.

    But I am angry too. I am angry at my fears. I want to smash them. I want to keep pushing myself into territory where I am scared and ask myself , “whAt was so scary about that?”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. lexydragonfly says:

    I can remember this one time when I was a little girl – I was hiding, cowering behind my bed. Every foot step of my mom coming to my room terrified me. I’ll never forget the shock and concern on her face. “What’s wrong, what are you doing?” There was absolutely no reason behind my fear. I was generally terrified, and always painfully shy as a child. I never figured it out but many times in my life I’ve experienced it. Of course, in my teens I did end up with very valid reasons for fear, but as a child, I don’t know.

    I deal with anxiety everyday. I’m still working on ways to handle it.

    Liked by 1 person

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