Why We Don’t Have to Live with Fear in Our 60s
We don’t have to live with fear! Many people may say they do not fear anything, and so they speak and defend themselves in all situations. They state they have no fear phobias, but in truth, the fears or worries that go into daily living cause us the most stress.
Most of the population is fearful. I am not a statistician, and I have no graphs or statistics to prove my theory other than the hurts and doubts we all admit experiencing every day of our lives.
End the Replay of an Angry Past
At a young age, we learn to fear angry parents, teachers, siblings and friends. Inadvertently, we discover the ways of our society. The strongest member with the most authority or power gets the prize.
Bullies are created and honored. The baby bully gets the toy that he grabs when his mom or dad do not retrieve the toy to return it to the child who originally had it. As toddlers mature into school age children, they grab and take what they want from others who fear challenging them.
No one wants to be hit, so the bully wins and rules the school yard and the teachers whose hands are tied by the administration and the parents. Our attachment to fear is universal and profound.
Reflect Then Dismiss Fear
Fear has nothing to do with our purpose in life, yet it consumes a huge part of our lives. If we let go of fear, we can enjoy what really matters.
For example, meetings with relatives at holiday times are always fearful. We want the right look, the right words, and we want to project the right image. We worry if our gift to them is appropriate. We even ponder the meaning behind their gift to us.
Simple remarks, jokes or slights are challenged and dissected later. We tense at another person’s body language and question their mood. There appears to be a problem if we blame ourselves for another person’s disposition.
We are not in the moment and definitely not enjoying ourselves. We are caught up in an emotional roller coaster with people and self, while we miss the reality around us.
Faith Is Trust Without Proof
To question everyone and everything is distrustful. When we trust and enjoy the people present in our lives it leaves no room for fear.
Judgment also goes hand in hand with fear. If everyone chose not to judge other people, then we might possibly live without so many fears. If one thinks they are being judged, panic rises to the surface.
As we age, we start to believe we are less capable in all areas. It certainly may have some truth to it, but we are far from finished. We learn to take our time and think more about what we do and say. Perhaps we stop taking people for granted and start appreciating so many things we didn’t notice before.
Trust is not that difficult. It is like letting go of the top bar to a swing set while someone below you promises to catch you. You may not try the bar at all if you distrust, but when you trust you have more support and greater faith and acceptance of others in your life.
The Past Is Over; Create a New Present
Past events worry us as much as the future. We often play the “what if” game, losing precious time in fearful scenarios: What if I can’t help my son or daughter raise their kids? What happens if my husband or wife dies before me? What if I develop a disease, am confined to a chair or lose all of my friends?
The truth is, both young and old people have accidents, problems that befall them and health issues. Young people lose spouses through divorce and death as well. We have to ask ourselves, is this how we want to live? Do we want to stay in the house and hide?
Criticism Is Yesterday’s Garbage
If we are criticizing others in our gossip, then we probably worry about others berating us. Getting rid of our judgmental attitude may get rid of some fears. So what if we look older, plumper, poorer, richer, angrier, incompetent, confused and other negative adjectives.
On any given day, we all experience those things. Take a moment to reflect. The judgments others make have no basis. Their assessments matter to us because of fear.
If we let go of assessments and stop the gossip we can end a lot of heartache. We must have faith in us and our ability to be of value no matter how old we are. Finding our own strengths at all ages is vital.
I find grandparents and older people in general are the glue that keeps family members together. How strong must we be to do that?
Relax and enjoy the party. Take no notice of the extra pounds extra wrinkles or last year’s clothes. Be thankful for the company and the time we have to recall the past with a laugh. We are being offered a respite from frustrations, burdens and tremendous workloads.
Let trust replace fear. Be yourself and be accepted as you accept others. Help solve another person’s fears. In a perfect world, we could all be happy. But, if we attempt to offer a tiny bit of peace to others, perhaps we might find it ourselves.
Don’t Allow Worry to Consume Your Life
We base all of our decisions on our fears. It is not a rich or poor man’s baggage. It is not an educated or uneducated man’s burden.
Doubt has nothing to do with our upbringing or our environment or people we choose for friends. It is not based on jobs, capabilities or personalities. Just as we all have to eat and rest for survival, we all share similar fears.
It’s strange to find that we don’t spend much time talking about our anxieties unless we are going to a therapist. Fears make us feel inadequate. Doubt brings us down.
It is worthwhile to ignore our fears as much as we can or they explode. At those few and far between times we deal with them, we should resolve them as best we can and move on.
The Gains Are Worth the Effort
Fear is weakness and weakness is not supposed to be in our vocabularies. Our society openly values strength and independence and disregards fear.
Therefore, we function well in most situations, but there are those times daily, weekly or monthly when we must encounter some forms of worry. Instead of solving issues for the moment, as we usually do, we can try to understand them and let them go.
We strengthen our muscles by exercising for a long tedious time. To strengthen our understanding of worry is also a slow process. It will involve many setbacks as well as gains. Try not to spend so much time contemplating anxieties that haven’t occurred and simply live your life.
When I taught school I used a worry box for my students. They wrote their name on a paper for each worry they had and then tossed it into the worry box which was kept outside of the classroom. We separated from our worries and lived the days at school stress free. What a relief it was!
What is important to you today? How helpful and kind will you be to others? Are there people who need and depend on you? Will you use your last bit of strength in kindness or use it up on stress? Please join the conversation, and let’s talk about stress and the ways we can help lower it in our lives.
Pamela Reynolds is a Connecticut-certified teacher in elementary and Special Education. She taught for over 20 years in public and private schools and is now retired. The author of The Princess and the Queen, Pamela also writes about relationships on her website. She is married and has four children, three daughters-in-law, one son-in-law and nine grandchildren.