Love is in the air and we are getting high on it.
After all, it’s spring over here, in my part of the world. Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but the feeling remains for a while, lifting our spirits. As I write this post I sit on a comfy chair in my small balcony, enjoying the weather. There’s a bird trilling somewhere close, people chatting happily and Maroon 5 blasting from the radio speakers in the office downstairs. The dentist office, in the opposite building, just closed its doors for the lunch break and a car is passing here and there, disturbing the silence of the mid-day. The sun is shining bright in the cloudless blue sky and I feel great.
Ever since I can remember I loved the peace and quiet. Might be because it calms me down, lowering the voices in my brain:). This is also the perfect moment to write about things that don’t come easy. About things we all brush under the carpet of our thoughts and pretend they don’t exist. About things that don’t let us sleep at night and if they do, it’s only for a short while. You’ve guessed now. It’s about our fears and their power. A blogging friend, The Blue Thinker just wrote a piece on the same subject the other day and that got me thinking that great minds do think alike. 🙂
We’ve all been there, on the fear track. We have all experienced it and we all know it’s not pleasant. Even the most courageous people have them, that’s why they seem fearless. But let’s start with the beginning.
Most of us are born fearless. Just watch toddlers and you’ll understand what I mean. However, the moment you become aware of yourself, the worries begin. You worry you won’t get a good grade on your exam, you worry you’re parents will be disappointed, you worry your friends are not true, you worry about the shape of your body, you worry that no one likes you and so on. The moment one goes, another one appears. They are not always as strong or as important, but they are there at the back of your brain, sending you impulses. They might grow in importance as you we get older, but hey there’s a good side to it. We become alert, present and alive, thanks to them.
Amygdala is a part of the brain where fears are produced. It can be more active in people with anxiety, but it also can be controlled. You know when the fear arises because your heart starts beating faster, you start sweating and you just want to run away. But you don’t just yet, because subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (sgACC) and courage, come around, together with all the arguments to stay. And the dispute begins. If amygdala has good arguments, you might surrender to your fears and take a break from the world. However, sgACC is a good debater and most of the time wins. Those are the moments that will stay with you forever, making you smile and feel brave.
I was born with fears. An introvert with a side of OCD, cannot become Wonder Woman over night, but that doesn’t stop her to try. I know how it feels to be scared from everything, to have a rush of adrenaline (although this is not
always a bad thing) whenever you’re stepping out of your confront zone. It’s not easy and it’s energy consuming, most of the time. Being afraid is part of who I am, but that doesn’t define me. It’s true my amygdala is more active than it should be, but that makes me alert and creative (I like to see the glass half full). All these fears of heights, of closed small places, of deep water, of sickness, of failure, fear of loosing my mental abilities, of losing the people I love, of unknown- to name a few- make me push my limits constantly. I can’t let them control me. I battle. There’s a battle given inside me every day. Sometimes baddies win, but that doesn’t stop me continue my work. Fear may win a couple of times, but she will also lose. And when I look back to my life, I smile, because she lost on quite many occasions.
Even though they are true sometimes, fears shouldn’t control us. If I would let myself be ruled by them, I wouldn’t leave the house, nor would I do anything. There are days when I feel exhausted, when I feel I’ll lose this game with my inner fears, but I don’t give up. You shouldn’t either! Because what comes, will also go and what’s dark might become rainbow colored in an instant. Just be brave and never give up ;).
As I was sitting here, carried away by my writing and sipping from my veggies smoothie, I am silently humming a song, that inspired me to write this piece in the first place: