This is my last weekend of summer vacation; school starts for me on Monday. I thought I was doing great with the idea of teaching here in SE Washington, DC, that is until I met a teacher that taught at the school where I will be teaching this year. Allow me to describe this man to you. He is a handsome African-American man, about 6’ tall and weighs 200 pounds, with huge muscles, in his early 40’s. He worked in Richmond City Public Schools, one of the toughest school districts in the country and a Detention Center prior to coming to teach in DC. He approached me at a meeting and told me that this was the toughest position that he ever had in his life, he almost quit teaching last year. He went on to say that he barely made it through the first 6 months. It was a warning. I thought to myself, "If he can't do it, what makes me think that I can?"
You see, no matter how many past successes I might have had in my teaching career, I always wonder if it will end. So I walk humbly at all times, never taking things for granted. There is an old cliché that says; “Pride before the fall”. Another version is, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:8
So, what can we do when we feel such tremendous fear? I’m certainly not an expert in this area, but allow me to share with all of you how I handle fear in my life.
I Cut Myself A Break
First, I cut myself a break and allow myself to just feel afraid. Let’s face it, sometimes we have a right to be anxious and fearful. Denying that I have a tough job ahead of me would be delusional, however, it is the ‘living’ in fear that we all want to avoid. So, after a little panic attack, tears, and massive sobbing…I stopped and then talk my way through it. Here’s what I do.
I start thinking of all that I have to be grateful for in life. I pull out my gratitude journals and read them cover to cover. That allows love to flow through my heart. Here’s the really cool thing about our human consciousness, we can’t be in a state of fear and one of love at the same time. They can’t coexist. That is why an embrace from someone who loves you and words of comfort takes away fear. When we connect to a softness, safety, comfort…fear vanishes.
What’s The Worse That Can Happen?
I tell myself, “What the worse thing that can happen?” I know this sounds weird, but I actually think through what the worse end result could be. I visualize myself still being afraid but handling the situation. This seems to empower me. I know that sometimes people make a Plan B, just in case things don’t work out. I’m not a big fan of making Plan B.’s. I think Plan B’s are just an escape door to quickly run through when it doesn’t go well. Some things need time to improve, trust me on this. For example, I usually tell myself, if things don’t get better in a year, then I will make a Plan B.
Welcome The Worse, Build Character!
There are times when fear was my best friend. What I mean is, I would not be the strong woman that I am today if I ran from fear every time that I faced it. How many people could move to two of the largest cities in the country and not know a living soul there? I stayed in NYC without one friend and I made it! I moved to DC without one friend here in the city and I am doing just fine, as a matter of fact, I am flourishing here! If I allowed fear to keep me from doing certain things in life, I would never grow in character and become strong and independent.
Release My Fear
I have learned how to release the fear. I can’t help but get spiritual here and I know that I am your teacher, but honestly, I give it all to God. In my mind, I visualize God taking it from me and freeing me.
So when you are stuck in fear, use whatever process works for you. Listen to a favorite song, do something that you love, focus on a photo of a loved one, or call a friend. We can’t escape feeling fear at times, but overcoming fear and anxiety will give you the character in life to focus on what you really want to be and do. It takes effort, so have patience, all good things take time! Remember, everyday may not be good, but there is something good in every day!
Love, Ms. B.