No Fear

Carolyn Phelps, Ph.D

October 27, 2014

One of my best skating buddies had the phrase “No Fear” shellacked onto the bottom of her right skate – the skate she lands jumps on. And that’s how she jumps – without fear. During her competitive heyday she had some of the best jumps in the world. Not just Duluth or even Minnesota – the world. Not because I say so or because she is my skating buddy and I love her; but because some of the best coaches in the world said so. I always thought that if I ever got a tattoo (which I will never get – I am more the bling girl not a stamp girl), I’d get 2 that said “No Fear.” One would be where I could see it easily at a moment’s notice; a sort of personal “note to self.” The other I’d get on the palm of my hand so when I held my hand up to you, you could read it. A nudge in the direction of courage – my gift from me to you – wanted or not.

Anxiety is all about fear. And if we’re not being diligent about whacking it back with a mental weed whacker, we’re encouraging it to grow. And what are we afraid of? The number one thing seems to be this: We walk around being afraid to be ourselves. Instead of embracing our quirks. Which reminds me of a conversation I had with my husband.

Me: I was weird when I was in High School.

Him: You’re still weird.

Me: What do you mean by that??!!

Him: You can’t be serious.

Me after 7 minutes: I prefer to think of it as quirky.

Him: I’ll make a note of that.

The point he was making, was that I could stop trying to hide my natural self, and have some faith that the right people will love me quirks and all. As for the wrong people?  Just wish them well and get back to your own life; everyone could use a “be well” wish.

We walk around blowing things out of proportion, fixating on the irrational and making it rationale, so that we get ourselves good and worked up. Being afraid that something bad might happen. That last one we should all just stop doing. Because something bad will happen. Sometime. For all of us. No asterisk by anyone’s name getting them off the hook. Not yours; not mine. But if something bad isn’t happening right now and if you’re not digging yourself a hole that someday you’ll have to climb out of – how about just enjoying the moment. And all it has to offer. Because the bad will come on its own. It‘s the way of the universe. So you don’t want to feel bad during the bad AND feel bad during the good. The universe really, is pretty incredible. But anxiety will blind us to all the universe has to offer; making our world suffocatingly small. 

So if you are out there living with anxiety that is paralyzing you, decide if you want to continue to participate in that misery; or decide if you want to participate in some help that could transform your life. And if you’re thinking right now “It’s not that easy.” I have 2 things to say back to you:

  1. Who said anything about easy? Like your misery is easy?
  2. You might want to ask yourself why you are arguing with a suggestion that could make you feel better.

As I think about it, those would be the next 2 tattoos I would get. As more notes to self. On more than one occasion I have had to remind myself of number 1 and stop myself from number 2.

A ton of you called in to ask questions about your medication or your aunt’s medication and how it doesn’t seem to be working, or wondering if you should be on medication.  – we had no psychiatrist – no medical doctor on the show. The closest we had, was 2 psychologists and we do not prescribe medications because we are not medical doctors. Some think they should be able to (but not THIS psychologist). But that’s another show. Save up your medicine questions for November 13 – when we’re doing a show on medicines and mental health.

I am now going for a walk and when I return I will be doing Yoga: 2 activities that reduce anxiety and do not require a medical degree, money or a good healthcare plan.

I will see you next time on Speak Your Mind when I will be talking to 2 skydivers who survived a plane crash and still like to skydive. And one expert who explains how on earth they do that.

Until then, let’s be greater than our fear.

Carolyn Phelps PhD

Licensed Psychologist

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