Over on @parentingforward, @cindybrandt was talking about the way we worry as parents. She said, "Every parent worries. To love is to worry. What if that doesn't have to be true? What if we can learn better coping mechanisms for our anxieties so that we don't exchange them with our children? What if we don't… Continue reading Out from the Clutches of Worry, Fear and Control
I realized this week that there might be a fifth fear response: force.
I recently republished a post I wrote last year on what makes us come alive. Knowing what makes us come alive is important to helping us come to understand our core values - which in turn helps us to sift and sort through the competing messages we have in our heads. But then someone messaged me and said, "I think a lot of people cannot even answer the question. Between jobs and kids and life...what make people come alive often gets buried and can be hard to figure out. And what if what makes you come alive is at odds with real life?" Which were fantastic questions, so I thought I would try to answer them today.
I'm okay with political disagreement. But what concerns me is the move towards a politics of fear from both sides of the political perspective. As you may have guessed, I think we can choose to vote out of fear or vote out of love.
As humans of the 21st century we have got it into our heads that we can know all the things. That we can predict all the weather.That we can heal all the diseases. That we can guarantee that we will not only have food to eat, but that we can have exactly the right food to eat at this moment whenever we feel like it. That since we can put people into space and go to the moon and launch rockets that can destroy cities in moments and have a face-to-face conversation with someone 10,000 km away from us that surely we can be certain about what is wrong with us. Except that sometimes, even today, we can't.
I've been thinking recently about the idea of honesty. Most often when we think about teaching our kids to be honest, or being honest with our spouse we think about not saying things that aren't true. So if you ask me if I ate the last cookie and I tell you that I did indeed eat the last cookie, then I have told the truth. The second thing we think about in terms of being honest is not failing to tell the truth. So if you never ask me if I ate the last cookie but I know you'd want to know where it had gone, then I should probably mention that I finished off the cookies. This is a deeper truth.
Because of the role that worthlessness and disconnection play in self-harm and suicidality, if someone is courageous enough to tell me about what's going on, I do my best to respond immediately with deeper connection. I might take them out for coffee, for a walk in the woods or by the water; I might invite them back to my place for dinner and some chill hang out time, or even invite them to spend a night or two with us. I know that this response is not going to fix all of the underlying reasons for where this person is where they are. That's not my goal. My goal is to create an immediate, felt sensation of increased connection for the person - like first-aid for the soul.