It used to be that I spent my days in “default mode,” unaware that I could make conscious choices about my reactions and emotions. There were so many “hot buttons,” words, behaviors, people and circumstances that would trigger me to go into a place of emotional pain. I felt vulnerable and open, with things constantly pushing me to a place where I didn’t want to go. Can one really let go of fear?
My thoughts weren’t helping the situation, either. My fears kept bubbling up, and the “what ifs” would take over. What if my cancer gets worse? What if the markers go high or the tumor doesn’t shrink? What if I die? What would happen with my children if I died?
I recognize this way of being as stressful and unhealthy, however I couldn't help myself to react when triggered. Although I know fear is real and valid for many reasons, I knew I didn't want to live in this chronic state.
Long ago I had heard about the power of our thoughts and emotions, I know realize that I don't need to operate from my feelings, and worked to change my emotional diet from unhealthy to healthy. Now I also understand the power of words. It’s not just our thoughts and emotions that let fear and negativity take over, our speech matters a great deal as well.
When we speak, our words carry strength and weight. Studies have actually shown that when you regularly speak to a pet or even a plant in a negative way, that speech will have a negative impact on the pet or plant’s growth. In contrast, speaking in a loving way has a positive effect. If you’re constantly verbalizing your fears and worries, imagine what your own speech is doing to you.
Knowing all of this, I am now vigilant about letting go of my fears, and not giving them space to live in my head. If my thoughts start to turn to the “what ifs,” I try to go deeper to figure out exactly what is it that triggered these thoughts today—and what I can do about it. For all of us fear is very real, and I realize that I can no longer run from it. Now I’m acknowledging the feelings, but I’m not operating from them. I choose to focus on what I can change and let go of what I can't. I know this is easier said than done but this has brought me to a new level of peace. I’m okay. I’m dealing with it. I’m focusing on what I need to do right now, today to overcome fear and letting go.
When I feel fear welling up inside of me, I quickly try to identify what I need to do in order to be able to function in happiness and positivity for that day. Maybe I need to pray, or attend a worship session with my friends. Perhaps I really need a hug from my husband, a coffee date with my best friend, or some loving communication from my family. I’m very intentional about recognizing my feelings and identifying my needs.
We do not have to operate in default mode. We can surround ourselves with those people, activities and moments that allow us to live with purpose. We are all terminal and have an expiration date. What matters is what we do and how we choose to live in between. What will we do today to live our lives fully, in positivity, joy and hope?
Power Thought: We glorify God by the way we live and not by remaining in fear about the way we will die.