Guys, there’s an awful lot of bad stuff going on in the world right now. All it takes is a glance at the news headlines to get some indication that people are really, really suffering. And it can be overwhelming. Facing the challenge of not living in fear can be so tough.
Innocent women have been targeted and attacked because of their race, gender or job.
The whole world has been impacted by the global pandemic that has resulted in lost loved ones, missed shared experiences and a limitation of our freedoms for longer than anyone had anticipated.
And let’s never forget the huge momentum that black rights activists created last year in response to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless other’s tragic deaths.
Last week I wrote a blog post in response to Sarah Everard’s murder. I was struck by the huge outpouring of stories of people who related so strongly to Sarah’s tragedy, men who had no idea it was this bad, and women who said with one resounding voice, “That could’ve been me. This has to stop”.
Like many, I’ve massively struggled to comprehend how to go about my life in a world where there frankly IS so much injustice, and so much to be afraid of.
How do we keep going without drowning in anxiety? Is it possible to keep fighting the problems and danger, while not being gripped by fear of that danger?
This is something that I’m sure everyone can relate to. Many men want to help women to feel safer, but they’re afraid that they’re constantly being viewed as a predator. Many women are facing the challenge of needing to continue living their lives, alongside a constant nagging fear that at any moment, any man could attack them.
But we can’t be paralysed by fear, no mater how rational it might be.
We’ve got to find some boldness, bravery, empathy… and some hope.
Here’s 7 things that I try to focus on to help me when fear becomes overwhelming:
1. Support each other
While people of all genders, nationalities and ages are facing different particular fears, one thing we can all do is choose to have each other’s backs. Listen to each other about how you can help. Put the other first. And when one of us is struggling, rally around them to give them hope and strength. If you’re struggling, find a support system.
Every time you choose to respect others, learn from them, fight for them and stand up for yourself – you are creating a legacy that you can be proud of. Every single one of us can choose to respond in a way that honours others and ourselves.
2. Find your peace, and hold onto it
Peace is often closer than you might think. Have a think about what brings you comfort and joy. Who is a good, safe person in your life? Stick with them. Look after yourself and focus on your personal wellbeing. Maintain it, hold onto it.
My peace comes from my faith. I get peace from the knowledge that there’s someone bigger than all of my fear.
I put my trust in the hope that there’s good in people in the world, and that I am responsible for my part… not the whole world’s part.
3. Take practical steps to combat your fear
You don’t need to sit around and let the fear get you. If you’re a “Do-er” like me that can actually be one of the worst things possible! I find it helpful to find some kind of action to take, no matter how small.
Could you read up on the issue, talk to others about it, learn from others. When it comes to my personal safety walking alone, I have measures in place to ensure I feel safe. If I didn’t, I’d never go anywhere or do anything.
We shouldn’t have to – but it’s important to face reality. Equip yourself to protect yourself.
4. Know your worth
You have something unique and valuable to offer to this world. Knowing your worth doesn’t mean running around with a massive ego telling everyone how great you are.
But it does mean respecting yourself, your boundaries, your emotions and your wellbeing. Know that your voice matters. That change starts with you.
5. Don’t be so hard on yourself
It’s ok to be sad about it all. It’s ok if some days you’re not ok. It’s ok if you’re afraid and don’t want to be. In fact, those emotions just demonstrate humanity.
It’s really important to sit in your feelings for a bit, to acknowledge them and process them. So let yourself, give yourself a break. For example, if you’re not up for dismantling the patriarchy every weekday that is A-OK.
6. Look for the good in the world
I promise if you look. you’ll find it. You can look for good in the world and still hold the weight of injustice. It’s hard to balance, but it’s possible. It’s important that we don’t lose sight of causes that need advocating. But when you feel overwhelmed, switch off the news and look for the good in the world. The news is so melancholy, but there is more out there in the world that’s good.
If you don’t know where to start with this, perhaps try replacing one of your (undoubtedly many) news apps or switching off Twitter for a bit and checking out Good News Network.
7. Don’t stop fighting. Change is coming.
When you feel up for it… look that fear right in the eyes and say, ‘enough is enough’. You are powerful.
You can overcome.
You are beautiful.
You are fierce.
Just remember, none of us were made to fight these battles alone.
We’re much stronger together, we always have been.