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Is it Worth the Risk?

Dylan Flying

My yellow lab Dylan is terrified of thunderstorms. He is the happiest (and ok, probably also the craziest) dog in the world, until he hears that first rumble up in the sky. One sign of a storm and he is shaking and cowering in the back of his crate. I always feel so badly for him during storms. I wish I could explain that there is no real threat and that his mind is just running wild about a little noise. But I can't. So he waits out the storm terrified in his crate, thinking the world is about to end. I’m currently writing this post on a flight from Atlanta to Toronto having just wrapped up a two-week vacation with my family and several friends (I know – lucky me!). Had this been two years ago, I would not be able to write this. My hands would be gripping the armrests. Knuckles white. Fists clenched. I'd be hopped up on anti-anxiety medication with little ability to string together sentences. Every time we hit the smallest bit of turbulence I would be thinking to myself THIS IS ITand not in a positive way. Silly, I know, but for a long time flying was a huge fear of mine. I know that someone reading this has this fear of flying too. Those of you that don't are probably itching to tell me the classic fear of flying wisdom: 
"You are more likely to die driving to work than flying to South Carolina"
I know. Trust me, I’ve heard this one before. But at the time, the fear was so deeply entrenched in my mind that I just couldn’t look at flying rationally. It didn’t matter what the statistics said or how comfortable the people around me were – just like Dylan, I was scared. What was my solution? I had several. Avoid flying at all costs. Don't travel far distances. Take a nice little feel good pill every time my flight was about to board. Worry endlessly about whether I was going to make it to my destination. Instead of dealing with my fear, I masked it with pills and hoped for the best or full out avoided flying at all costs. I was consumed with worry, fear, and anxiety over the outcome of my trip. Over not having control over the plane (although if I did, I'd be even more scared). Did this change anything? No. Only my experience on the plane and my quality of life leading up to the trip. That's what makes fear so deadly. It enters our mind and our thoughts run wild. This irrational fear turns into a gigantic story in our heads. It sucks away at our joy. It depletes our quality of life. It keeps us stuck. For me, it meant missing out on some awesome trips after University because I didn't want to have to risk getting there by plane. For Dylan, it means spending minutes, hours, sometimes even days hiding in his crate because he's convinced thunderstorms are a true threat to his life. For many of us, living from fear means missing out on opportunities, avoiding what it is we really want to do and hiding from who we really are because fear tells us it's too risky. But is it? I've realized that it's more risky for me to stay home and miss out on life than to get on a plane. And it's definitely more risky for me to live a life I hate because I'm scared of doing what I love. Where is that little voice of fear running your life? Is it worth the risk of listening to it?
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Thanks, I really needed to hear this today. :) Great article.

Laura on April 24, 2015

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