Suffocating in bubble wrap

by maximusaurus

If I were to go back in time and ask my 18 year old self how best to solve his anxieties, I’m fairly sure the answer would be along the lines of installing Biosafety Level 4 protocols on the house; airlocks, disinfectant showers, UV sterilization chambers, and a hazmat suit to wear outside. (Then again, if I could go back in time, the first thing I’d do is arrange for whoever decided to make Bananas in Pyjamas and Blinky Bill into CGI to have an unfortunate accident involving an escaped orangutan driving an unregistered forklift)

Nowadays, of course, I understand the problem with this approach. (Besides exorbitant costs and attracting the attention of anti-terrorist agencies) Avoiding rather than facing one’s fears is like raising a child in a completely sterile environment; sure, in the short term they won’t get sick, but as soon as they venture into the outside world with its myriad of pathogens, they’ll end up like the Martians in War of the Worlds.

Ridding your life of all stressors is impossible.

You can waste your energy trying to encase the world in bubble wrap, or you can use that same energy to learn to confront and overcome said stressors.

The latter approach is less comfortable in the short term; you’ll have to deal with anxiety, fatigue, maybe even panic attacks. But in the long term, you’ll emerge a stronger, more resilient, and freer person.

Now, I’m not saying throw yourself straight in the deep end; I’ve found that tackling my fears in more gradual manner is more effective. But avoiding them will only postpone them, not eliminate them.

You can’t control the universe, but you can learn to control yourself. Our fears don’t exist in the outside world; they exist inside our own minds, and that is where they can be faced and defeated.

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