Sometimes it feels like fear is its own entity all together. A persistent climbing ivy that, once planted, takes over your entire house. You can prune back one tendril only to find another has pushed up through the floorboards.
A friend of mine is afraid of the vaccine.
As far as I know, this isn't typical of her. She's definitely on the hippie-dippie spiritual side of things (one of the reasons we have connected over the years) but I wouldn't peg her as anti-vax, anti-science, or anti-medicine.
But then fear happened.
I don't know who first planted it, but someone gave her a reason to be afraid. Now each time a fear is addressed, getting pruned back with thoughtful, evidence-based reason leaving her assured that the vaccine is safe, another justification for the fear slips in and it grows right back.
I'm told it is next to impossible to get ivy out at the root and it's at least as hard with fear. Unless you can reject the central premise all together, all it takes is one little "what if" and bam! You're surrounded by scary vines. And that central premise? Chances are it's connected to something deeply important to you (that's how it gets in there in the first place), so good luck there.
This isn't a very hopeful post, is it? Okay, here's the hope: it is possible to overcome your fear. I have done it a couple of times. Once, it took the near-dissolution of
my faith. Another time it took me realizing that I could prioritize a
different value over the one that was driving the fear. In both cases, it was a big shift in how I saw myself and/or the world, but it happened.
There is another way, of course. As my heart-niece reminded me this weekend: sometimes you have to act from your brave self instead of your scared self and just do the thing that scares you.
Or I guess you could just become the Poison Ivy of fear and make it do your bidding (if you figure out how to do that LET ME KNOW).
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