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Old and Joyous

DAVID 1

By David Sanford

 

I Am Afraid. Are You Afraid Too?

Fear. What sort of topic is this for a column from bright-and-shining San Miguel de Allende, and with spring about to trumpet forth too? What poor taste!

To make matters worse, look at the title: It refers to me, the author. Am I afraid? Yes, sometimes I am afraid.

Occasionally I’m Afraid

I’m an old guy. I am in very good health, but who knows? My Spanish is not dependable. It will get me home in a taxi, but not much else, especially if I am suffering a medical emergency. And besides, there’s the condition of our sidewalks here and the size of our buses. I could go on, but you get the point.

So I’m writing about being afraid—partly because I know something about it and partly because I accept and strive to understand my fear. How about you and your fear?

Fear Is Universal

If you are afraid, understand that you have a great deal of company: Everybody is afraid. There are only two primary conditions for us humans: fear and love. Both are feelings—two among many. However, only fear and love are primary, meaning that all other feelings are forms of these two.

Consider anger, for example. Anger is what fear immediately turns into in many situations where being afraid is not safe, as in highly conflicted family or marital relationships.

How to Deal with Your Fears

Fear is isolating for people. Those who are chronically afraid retreat from life and begin to die psychically. The alternative is to actively to accept your fear.

  • Accept that indeed you are sometimes afraid. We all are. If you are a feeling person, one of those feelings is bound sometimes to be fear.
  • True acceptance goes beyond simple acknowledgment. Acceptance is active caring for you. This can be a tough one, especially for older men. Once upon a time, we guys were expected to be strong and tough. (“Guys don’t cry.”)

The problem here is that part of our native makeup is the Little Child who continues inside as an important part of the memory inside each of us. The Little Child does not mature. Nevertheless s/he is responsive to care. Denied, s/he goes underground. (Alcoholism is sometimes a consequence.) Accepted, the Little Child thrives.

Probably most people who move to San Miguel do so with a sense of adventure—a new beginning in an inviting and beautiful location. Some of us find community here—the community of living in a neighborhood or the community of shared interests such as volunteer work, gardening, or religious affiliation.

But how about sharing our fears, such as the fear of being alone or simply not being able to keep up any more? Have you found a way to share those fears with others in San Miguel? And most important, have you found relief, and from what sources?

I would like to learn of your experiences and will reference them anonymously in a future post. Write davidesanford@mac.com

David E. Sanford is 82. His website is oldandjoyous.com. For 30 years, David was a relationship therapist. He is the author of five books on love, couple relationships, and marriage. David and his wife, Joyce, live in San Miguel in wintertime.

 

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