I can handle it.
One of the most helpful books that I have read is Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers. I have found it to be so helpful that I have read it three times. She states that underneath all our fears is the basic fear that we cannot handle what we fear – whatever it may be. I remind myself of this truth when I start to let my fears overtake me.
Worry is a companion to fear. We often use worry as a way to prepare ourselves for the thing that we fear – to help us handle it. I was speaking to a friend of mine last week about this very same thing. Her dog had to be “put to sleep”. I remembered that she was worried about this eventuality because he was old and he had a persistent cough. She was worried that he might have a tumor. Now that the thing she was worried about came to pass, I asked her what she has learned from worrying about it. She admitted that the worry was not helpful and that it did not prepare her for his death.
I have had to handle some pretty difficult things in my life. I have survived being beaten black and blue by a babysitter and her friends, sexual molestation by a male babysitter, relentless bullying as a child, an abusive marriage, fleeing to a shelter, a divorce, two car accidents that totaled the cars, job losses, suicide attempts, a complete physical and mental breakdown, and numerous short-term mental hospital stays. I’m not listing these instances to get pity or to dwell on the wrongs that have been done. My point is that I find that when I feel like I cannot handle my current difficulties it is best to remind myself that I have handled much worse before. If I have weathered much worse, why can I not handle what is happening now? I surely can.
Everyone has difficulties that they have been through. No one gets through this life unscathed. It’s part of the whole. The thing to remember is that we can handle it. Just hold on until handling it gets less difficult to do.