Day 21 of the Overcoming Fear Challenge

The Greatest Pain in Life

According to statistical studies, the fear of death is second to the fear of public speaking. The fear of death is the fear of dying, but there are many aspects of that fear. For instance, a lot of people are not so much afraid of passing from this life as they are of the fear of the pain that is involved. I don’t think that the physical pain of death is the worst pain a person can have however. I believe the worst pain involves not just our physical bodies, but it permeates the depth of our spirit.

One of the last pictures taken of my brother Allen and my Dad together.

One of the last pictures taken of my brother Allen and my Dad together.

Most people who will tell you that they are not afraid to die have not truly come face to face with the concept of death. For most of my life, I never knew death in my immediate family so I had no reason to fear death. My parents were both alive and outlived their siblings. All of my siblings were alive. We never really had to face serious illness or injury in our family. We lived relatively healthy lives. Then last October, my father died. It wasn’t as if it weren’t expected. He was 91 years old. He had lived a long life. Most of the friends he had grown up with had passed, but he still had many friends and relatives who had wonderful memories of him. It was really my first glimpse of death in my immediate family. Inside I had a gnawing feeling that I had allowed too many years pass by that I had not been living in my purpose.

Six weeks after my Dad’s funeral I got a call from my sister Carol that my brother Allen had been taken to the hospital and was not expected to live. He died November 29th of last year. His funeral was on December 4th. I took his death much harder than I did my father’s death. He was my eldest brother, but younger than me. Allen was born a year after I was. He was the only one of my siblings that I don’t remember having been born. As far back as I can remember, he was my first playmate and now he was gone. At his funeral, he too had numerous friends and relatives who celebrated and would miss him.

Carol and her husband Jim.

Carol and her husband Jim.

Earlier this month I got a call from my brother Marvin telling me that my sister Carol was losing her bout with cancer. Carol was just a week shy of having been a year younger than Allen. She had said that she hoped that she would live until she was the same age as he was when she died, but she was afraid that she wouldn’t make it. She spent her last couple weeks in a hospital bed in her own home under hospice care. She was surrounded by family and friends when she took her last breath late in the evening April 16, 2014. The church where her funeral was conducted was packed with people who loved her. She always offered a smile and sometimes a joke. She left behind a husband, four children, and six grandchildren upon whom she doted.

I took her death harder than I did losing Dad or Allen. Partly because she was my only sister. The other reason was that I promised to be there,  but I wasn’t there when she died. We were far closer than I realized. I cried more the few days before she died than while in Pennsylvania for the funeral. When I returned home, however, my mourning turned to depression and again the tears wouldn’t stop. The tears were not just because I had lost my only sister, I realized that I had a dream that was unfulfilled and if I didn’t do something with it soon, I too might die without ever having done what I knew I was destined to do, and my funeral would be attended by far fewer people. I didn’t want to die regretting the One thing that I was destined to do.

My Dad, my brother, and my sister all had one thing in common. They had lived what they believed was important to them. They valued friendship. Their dreams had been to love and be loved by their friends and family. They were. I have to admit that I am made of different cloth. My dream in life is to serve others differently and in a broader sense and I have recently felt that I fall far short of that dream and that goal.

If you’ve never felt the pain of knowing that you’ve lost track of what you wanted your life to be, if you have lived to let the dreams that you had a child slip away into the abyss of wasted days, then you have no idea the pain I was in. As I said, there is one fear that is greater than the fear of death, but there is no pain greater than the pain of realizing that you have lived your life without fulfilling your dreams.

About the Author

2014-04-07 07.07.08Cygnet Brown has recently finished her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga Cygnet Brown resides in Springfield, Missouri.

Get a free copy of her newsletter and a free pdf copy of her e-booket: Vegetable Gardening in the Shade.

Day 21 Overcoming Fear Challenge ©2014 Donna (Cygnet) Brown

Day 20 of the Overcoming Fear Challenge

Getting Rid of the Victim Mentality

faith-is-not-believing-that-god-can-quotes

We hold ourselves hostage when we allow fears to dictate how we will conduct our lives. The biggest problem with our fears is that they are often entrenched in our daily habits. To add insult to injury, we have family and friends who tell us why we are unable to do the things that we dream about doing. Whenever we hit a snag in our plans, these same people are quick to say “I told you so.” rather than offering genuine service toward helping us determine our next course of action. Because the thoughts inside our heads are telling us that we can’t and our family and friends are reinforcing that victim mentality, it is no wonder we are stuck in the frustration that nothing is working. So what do we need to do? How do we break free of this cycle of being stuck because of fear?

First thing we have to do is to exchange our negative fearful thoughts with thoughts of faith. The important thing is however is to take baby steps. As much as we would like to, we cannot change over night. Habits of negativity have to be exchanged for habits of positive action a little at a time. We determine what is our toughest daily challenges first and then do what remains with the time left.

We need to begin raising our standards on a daily basis and become more self-reliant. We need higher personal and professional standards than the negative people around us. Begin by taking the best care of yourself possible. We should put our best foot forward in everything that we do. Think quality rather than quantity. Think excellence rather than just doing enough to get by. When getting ready to take risks, acknowledge your fears. We need to recognize that true security does not originate in others. Weigh the benefits against the risks. Know that you have a plan and that by taking the risk, you are becoming more independent. Like a swimmer at the end of a diving board, jump in head first.

 

Next we need to exchange the time we spend with our negative family and friends for people who encourage us and help build us up. We need to prepare ourselves for the knowledge that those negative people are not going to change simply because we change. If anything, they are likely to become more resistant to our growth. Some people we will need to eliminate entirely. Others, we will need to simply learn to tune out until it becomes clear to them that they really were wrong about us. We need to have faith in ourselves that someday we will become their role models.

 

About the Author

2014-04-07 07.07.08Cygnet Brown has recently finished her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga Cygnet Brown resides in Springfield, Missouri.

Get a free copy of her newsletter and a free pdf copy of her e-booket: Vegetable Gardening in the Shade.

Day 20 Overcoming Fear Challenge ©2014 Donna (Cygnet) Brown