Some weeks ago I did a survey on social media after receiving a message from a girl in which she recognised her biggest anxiety: She was often anxious about death. She was scared of the fact that one day everything would end and that that day could be today, tomorrow, or even around the next corner. She was talking about the fear of the uncertainty of the world we live in. A fear that almost everyone feels at some point, so driven by my curiosity I decided to ask in a survey if there were others feeling anxiety for the same reason . . . To my surprise, most answers were affirmative.
Why do we talk so little about a fear that is so common?
Why do we stay quiet? Because of FEAR itself. It is interesting: We don’t talk about our fears because of fear, and in the end, fear becomes the driver and the leader of our lives. There are two fear-based beliefs that stop us from sharing and connecting:
–‘If I verbalise it, it will become real’:
Many times when we feel fear or anxiety we think that recognising it will make it more real, more tangible. While if we don’t talk about it and just suffer it ourselves, no one knows and it seems easier to deal with at first: ‘If my secret doesn’t come out, it won’t be real’… Nothing could be further from the truth. When I hide my fear, I give it the opportunity to manipulate me without encountering an external perspective. On the other hand, when I share it, I normalise it and have the opportunity to put myself in charge.
-‘If I show my fear, I can’t be brave or strong, I automatically become a weak coward’:
Bravery is not the absence of fear, it is the action that is not prevented because of it. When you dare to talk about your fears you will realise that they are shared and you will feel empowered to face them.
So today I propose we talk about the fear of uncertainty:
The fear that every single person feels at some point
The anxiety that comes from what will happen, that doesn’t let us sleep
The pain that we feel when we lose what we love most, or when we just imagine it…
The unknown that we haven’t been able to answer yet…
What happens when everything ends?
The meaning of Ephemerality
In this article I don’t pretend to give an answer to what hasn’t been answered, I am not even going to attempt doing so.
We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, and our memories of what happened yesterday are conditioned by what our brain has kept!
That is why, the only real contact that we can have with life is now, at this precise moment. Even the reality of the moment is filtered by our perception, our beliefs, our values and what we think we know… However, it is in the now where we get closer to what it means to be alive, so I propose to use the present to dispel our fears about what will come.
In short, our fear of ‘THE END’.
Who doesn’t identify with this fear?
. You fall in love and you are scared that the relationship will end.
. You are in the concert of your favourite band and you feel anxious thinking that it will end soon.
. You have an amazing conversation with your grandma and you are terrified by thinking that one day she will pass away.
. You are working at something you don’t enjoy and you are scared that life might end before you have really enjoyed it.
. You hear the sound of an ambulance passing and for a moment you feel anxious thinking what would happen if one day you, or someone you love were waiting to be picked up by one.
. Watching the news leads you to go to bed more and more scared each day…
I am not going to lie, all these things can easily happen… Life is ephemeral, and we know when it starts but we have no idea of when it will end:
. The relationship you are in might end one day.
. The concert you are enjoying for sure will have the last song.
. Your grandma one day will die like everyone else, maybe before or after you. You never know.
. Your life will get to an end regardless of whether you have made the most of your time or you have wasted it, and one day an ambulance might pick the person you love most!
There are no guarantees, safety is an illusion. And Life has an expiry date, but that is not the worst, the worst is to experience life through the worry of its end, through the lens of guessing at what hasn’t happened yet.
Does death give us meaning or does it take it away from us?
This is a question I have struggled answering for a long long time and I think the answer comes down to ‘depending on how you look at it’.
It is easy to think that death steals meaning from life, if one day we are going to go, what are we here for? Especially, when we have lost someone we love. Especially, when we experience death up close.
However, death can also be what gives meaning to all that we do. If one day we will go, let’s take advantage of every second, let’s use our precious time and spend it on what we love most, let’s give away love, let’s appreciate the beauty of life.
These are just two perspectives, personally, the second one serves me more than the first one, so today I am going to share with you how I manage my fear of death, which shows up every so often. Thanks to a couple of tools, every day I am less scared of ephemerality and every day I find it more meaningful:
1.Visualise yourself overcoming the worst case scenario:
Instead of spending hours of your time imaging your inability to overcome the worst possible scenarios, if you are going to be in your head, spend that time imagining the opposite: Visualise yourself having lost what you love most, and recovering from it. When I was suffering from chronic anxiety, I used to be so scared of losing my grandma, or my family, or my partner. Just by thinking about it, I could end up in tears in a matter of minutes. I couldn’t stop myself from thinking about it, so instead of trying to, I decided to try coexisting with the idea and focus on an aftermath that was positive: I used to imagine myself serene, calm and in peace, remaking my life and spreading love. And this worked, my fear has reduced because now I trust more in my resilience, and I know thanks to the fact that I am less scared, I am making the most of the time I have with the people of love, and I create moments of quality time with them daily!
2. Uncertainty as a tool for reaffirmation:
Following on from the idea of making the most of my time, I will share the second tool. Using my fear of what will happen to connect with what is happening.
-If you fear to lose someone you love: Call this person and tell him/her how much love you feel, organise a quality time date with him/her!
The idea is to take action, it doesn’t matter how small it is.
What quality moment can you create with someone you don’t want to lose?
When you finish reading this article, I invite you to take your phone out, and call a person you love. Tell him/her how much you value them, and propose a meet-up to do something together you both really enjoy!
-If you are scared of dying before you have made the most of your time: Start writing that novel you have been imagining for years or take a step towards your dream…
Do something which you truly believe is worth your time!
What can you do today to feel that you are using your time well, from this very moment?
I propose you chose a small action that gives meaning to your Wednesday right now, and try to put into practice before the day ends. Small is big in the long term.
Life is happening now, it is not about fearing or expecting what might happen tomorrow. It is about switching the focus to what you can do NOW to live from your truth, on your terms, and move from fear to love.
Also, if you want to work deeper on your anxiety and fear, you can download this free meditation that will help you make peace with anxiety!
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Love and Satisfaction,