Within the last two weeks, Milwaukee experienced two unrelated high school students brought a gun to school. No gun was fired, however the Earthquake in Haiti minimized the impact of having guns in the hands of adolescents. Tragically, the news does not differentiate between a death which occurs by choice and death (s) which we have no control. When the media reports and sometimes sensationalizes tragedy, threads in our security blanket begin to loosen. Those who tend to make decisions based on reports of danger will soon find themselves limiting the beauty of life experience.
Fears can be debilitating or self destructive if they are realistic or not. Here a basic guide to determine the difference.
1) State your fear clearly and detailed as possible.
2) Determine if this fear is based on PERSONAL experience. If you experienced prior trauma, you are a survivor, not a victim. If you are faced with danger in the future, time, your experience will help you survive.
3) Rate your fears on a scale of 1 to 100. 100 being absolutely terrifying.
4) If failing a test or gaining 20 pounds rates as “100”, seek professional help immediately.
5) Take responsibility for valid fears, and develop a safety plan.
6) If you are consumed by your fears and/or limit your activities due to fears, seek professional help.
7) If your friends and family do not seem irritated by your fears, and do not share your concern, chances are, your fear is irrational.
Buddhist philosophy states that suffering is a human condition. Suffering will cease by “enlightenment”, or experiencing life as it happens without thoughts of past or future. Currently, most mental health professionals will address the core of our fears. Acceptance of three facts will allow us to face our darkest fears, should they become reality.
1) Every life will end and be transformed into a new life.
2) We do not have control over anything in our life accept our own feelings and thoughts.
3) When we are actually faced with are fears, we will feel pain, anger and guilt. Those who view themselves as a victim will eventually exhaust their support system. Worse yet, may become occupied with thoughts of revenge, self pity and “what if?”
Regardless of the origin of painful events, the responsibility of healing belongs to those who have experienced a trauma. Healing is possible especially with support.