After 45 years as a GP, Dr Robert Favaloro ponders on what it takes to build a wonderful life. How happiness can be grown and tended like a good crop. It's all about following The Rules of Life.
Rule of Life 4 - 'Fear Nothing'
I was tempted to avoid writing about this rule due to its difficulty, but I know that avoiding is not an option (see rule three!).
Fear has been defined as 'False Evidence Appearing Real'. I gradually realised that whatever problem comes our way, we have the resources to handle it, although we may not know it initially. An old saying 'we thrive on adversity,' has been true in my own life and in so many of my patients.
Fear fills the life of the many people with obsessive compulsive disorder. They have rituals which control their lives. They fear not checking the stove, the lock and so on, multiple times. The basis of their fear is that something terrible will happen if they don't follow the ritual. The ultimate fear is of dying.
Another old rule is - 'a problem shared is a problem halved.' My role in counselling such people was to be a reliable, trustworthy listener. I didn't supply answers but I was understanding and discussed their options. None of us want to be given advice. Talking openly about fears is the 'best therapy'.
The fears do appear real.
Mark Twain once said: " I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened."
I remember fearing the boogy man in childhood. We have to leave these fears behind.
An elderly patient of mine offered a bedroom in her home to any girl who I felt needed emergency accommodation. I asked if she feared a stranger coming into her home, as she lived alone. She laughed and explained how she and her husband had built the home room by room as they could afford materials. He had died and the family grown up. She felt so thankful in life. Sharing her home was her gift to someone. She chose to laugh at the idea of fear.
Winston Churchill said "Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision."
Rule five in two weeks.