They say you either control your fear or it controls you. It’s not just an expression. There is so much truth to that. Fear can paralyze you. Fear can keep you from reaching your dreams. Fear can keep you from reaching your potential. On the other hand….. Fear can keep you safe. Fear can help you to make wise decisions. Fear can help you to live to see another day. Like everything in life, it is about balance.
Some people in order to control their fears ignore it. They pretend real dangers don’t exist. That somehow they are immune to the consequences. They pretend that if they don’t give into fear that somehow that makes them stronger than what they are afraid of. But pretending the dangers aren’t real, don’t make them any less real. It just makes you reckless and in some cases stupid. That someone they are immune when you are not.
Some people go to the opposite extreme and let their fear paralyze them. They refuse to try anything for fear of failure. They shut themselves off from people, relationships, challenges and just follow the path of no fear. They live a shell of their potential life and never each for the brass ring for fear of missing it.
A little fear is good . A little fear makes you think about consequences. Helps you make smart and safe choices. Not too much that keeps your from trying, but enough to keep you trying smartly. It won’t stop you from signing up for a marathon because you don’t know if you can do it, but will ensure that you plan to get to the finish line. It won’t stop you from life, but will make you think about your life choices.
We are all at a crossroads now. Everyone I know whose paying attention is thinking about what is going on in the world. How much social distancing is enough? Some wonder if they are even necessary. Are the places we think we need to go really places that we need to go? What are the consequences if we go. Then making sure we wash our hands when we get there and when we get home. If your lucky, you even have some hand sanitizer for the trip.
Then there are people right now thinking that they are stronger than this virus. That they will continue to gather, go to races/group runs, and somehow that makes them braver and stronger than the rest of us. It really doesn’t. It makes them more reckless.
One of the definitions of fear is to have concern or anxiety.
One definition of brave is to defy, challenge;dare
I don’t know about you, but I pretty much have anxiety and concern right now. I also don’t wish to challenge the coronavirus to enter my home. All you need to do is look to places like Italy to see that right now a little fear isn’t a bad thing.
The beauty of being a mostly solitary outdoor runner is that for now I can still be a solitary outdoor runner without actually being brave because my fear is making me smart. Today I went for a 6 mile run on the trails. I was not the only one on the trails, but I was by myself on them. Passing, being passed, and going the opposite direction. It was all good. The sun was out. The air was fresh. Most of all it let the anxiety fall away.
I’ve been reading a book recently about mindful meditation. It is about meditating where you are no matter what. Becoming in tune to your surrounding. So today while I was out, I put on no music and to be honest when your running the trails the sounds of them are music enough. But today, I ran. I noticed the swish, swish, swish sound that my jacket made as I ran. I noticed the sound of my feet hitting the dirt. I just took it all in and spent time in the moment.
It was enough.