Okay, so let me give you a disclaimer, right here at the beginning: the "you" in the title is only extrapolated from my own experience. I just like to imagine I’m your average, run-of-the-mill kind of person, but maybe everyone thinks that…
Anyway, here we go. It’s spring—time to recharge and renew and mix it up a little. Now that the (metaphorical) death of winter is behind us, we can once again feel the bravery and the desire for something new and different seep into our blood. So—maybe it’s time we reexamine some of our (read: my) hang-ups? Let’s do a top five. A random top five. In no particular order.
Okay. This isn’t really my personal hang-up. I mean, I’d share a fork with pretty much anyone (and by fork I mean fork—the eating utensil; just because it’s spring doesn’t mean everything has to come down to…fertility). But I do know that this is a big issue.
Okay, germy common sense aside (yes, you should clean the equipment at the gym, wash your hands after using the bathroom, sneezing, blowing your nose, or coughing), germs are good for us. All those antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers we use? Sure, they kill the germs, but they also kill the microbes which work to strengthen our immune system against those same germs. No microbes? You can become one sick puppy. This plethora of anti-bacterials also works to create drug-resistant germs. Yeah, those germs that survived your spritz of Lysol? They go on to breed more germs immune to your germ-fighting arsenal.
Instead of killing off all these germs, concentrate on cultivating good bacteria—the lacto-fermented kind you find in yogurt, cultured cheeses, kombucha, and real pickles. These bacteria do way more in regards to keeping you healthy than any anti-bacterial hand soap.
2. Trying something new
Okay, this is one of my fearful hang-ups. I hate walking into a new situation with new people, none of whom I’ve ever met. This probably stems from moving around every couple of years as a kid, but no matter what the cause, it’s still scares the pants off of me.
Why is this? Well, I’m a natural introvert for one thing. You enviable extroverts out there probably find it no big thing to walk into a new situation—you probably thrive on it. For us, though, we’re super happy in our own little comfort zones. So why is pushing the boundaries good for us? Well, every time you do something that frightens you, you work to free yourself from the ego. And every time you do that, you’re forging a more creative, more exciting, and more fulfilling path for yourself.
And, no, it probably will never get any easier (at least, this is my experience talking). You’ll always be a recovering introvert, but you will have a much richer life, more opportunities to follow your bliss and a higher sense of self-worth. To me, that’s totally worth a few hours of sweaty palms and mildly mindless small talk.
3. Spiders, bees, and bugs in general
So, again, not really a hang-up of mine, but another widespread phobia. Some suffer so much that it makes going outside and enjoying the general splendor of spring more intimidating than exhilarating.
According to my research, many spiders aren’t nearly powerful enough to penetrate human skin, even if they wanted to. And they don’t really want to. No spider exists which would hunt a larger mammal for food. Those that are venomous? Most of them can’t bite through clothing, so you’re pretty much safe. That’s not to say you should make every spider you see your brand new pet; they will bite if they feel threatened. I’m just trying to replace blind fear with a little common sense here.
Same thing with bees. Bees are not aggressive creatures. Sure, they’ll protect their nest, but they don’t really want to sting you (mostly because, you know, that kills them). If they’re flying around you, they’re probably just drawn to the color or scent you’re wearing. Once their curiosity is sated, they’ll move on.
Still frightened? Well, think of how essential bees are to our environment, our food supply, our habitats. According to the Department of Agriculture, “about one-third of the human diet comes from insect-pollinated plants, and the honeybee is responsible for 80% of that pollination.” So, you might not want to run out and hug a hive, but you could start by sending those bees a little love.
4. Intimacy and/or rejection
Okay, this is a tough one. Who doesn’t fear rejection? Rejection means someone doesn’t love us, right? And aren’t we totally lovable? Rejection and intimacy go hand in hand and when fear is found in these areas, it’s usually indicative of some kind of past trauma here.
But what is it you really fear? If you can sit with your fear, meditate on it, and find that part of you that still suffers from a past wound, then the battle is halfway over. Now, this isn’t easy, and you may need professional help to get there, but once you can forgive yourself and forgive the person(s) who hurt you, you can begin to ease back into those intimate relationships. And, just like the introvert, while it’s nice to be safe, it’s even nicer to break successfully through those fears and restraints which hold us back and keep us from realizing the lives we were meant to lead.
Okay. Seriously. Who’s afraid of ostriches? No one, right? They stick their heads in the sand and that’s it. Well…this is one you might want to be afraid of. But don’t take my word for it. Ask the folks over at CGPGrey and take a gander at these common misconceptions. Oh, and don’t worry. You aren’t going to learn about a whole lot of things you only thought were safe but really aren’t. Just give it a watch. Don’t be afraid.
Despite the light-hearted take on fear that this article presents, fears are very real and their effects on the body are palpable and can be harmful. I’m not saying we shouldn’t take our fear seriously, but I am saying that we should examine the root of our fear and, where we can, work to eradicate it. This is spring after all; the entire world (okay, the northern hemisphere) is blooming and embarking on a dance that is both new and millennia old. Ease into the dance at your own pace. Take one step. Then take one more.
image via *CQ*