I typically use this forum to provide advice or tips having to do with issues related to my field of expertise – social work. I have blogged about parenting, and bullying and infertility and anxiety. Or I write about topics which are trending in the news or about recurring themes that I see in my practice.
Usually my blogs encompass some sort of advice as to how we can help ourselves or our children or others who are struggling.
Today’s blog, however is slightly more personal.
It is about an internal struggle. Nothing to do with my children or work or my family life. It is about facing my own fears.
Let me explain.
This past weekend, I attended a rock concert at the Rogers Centre in Toronto with some friends. I bought the tickets several months ago. We were excited to see the band, excited to spend time together, excited to relive our youth a little bit. What better way than to dance and sing along to songs we cherished in our late teens?
Since buying those tickets, there has been increased upheaval in the world and a number of terrorist attacks. The attacks are also on softer targets than ever. The nightclub shooting in Orlando. The bombing in the Istanbul airport. The shooting of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge. And this past week, the brutal driving rampage over innocent civilians enjoying Bastille Day in Nice, France.
So is it naïve of me to think that a terrorist attack could never happen here in Toronto?
Of course it could. And unfortunately I am sure that at some point it will.
The band that played had chosen Toronto as the only Canadian venue for the duration of this tour. As a result, thousands of people made the pilgrimage to Toronto from other Canadian cities. The concert was sold out. The place would be packed and crowded. There would not be an empty seat in the house.
You see, growing up, I did a lot travelling. The advice that was given was to never be alone. “Stick with crowds,” my parents would say. “There is strength in numbers.”
But is this actually true?
I feel as though such advice no longer applies. Strength in numbers? Isn’t it the big numbers and the large crowds that attract terrorism?
Somehow I got it into my head that attending this concert, for me, would be too risky. And for the first time in my life, I was afraid to go. I have a husband and three children who need me. How can I go to an event where the chances are so high that something terrible could happen?
These thoughts flooded my mind for days leading up to the concert. I shared them with my husband and no one else. And then I found it within myself to snap out of this ridiculous mode of thinking.
Was I going to allow fear to dictate my life and the choices I make? Of course not. It is against everything I stand for and everything I try to teach my clients.
So I decided to go. I got on the subway, and I went to the concert. We met for dinner. We stood in the long security line to enter the venue. There were hoards of people. But the vibe was amazing. And all of downtown Toronto was buzzing. And we all had a blast.
The show did not finish until after 1 a.m. And by that time I had already forgotten about my thoughts and fears.
So what did I learn about myself this past weekend?
I tried to implement what I recommend to my clients and what I try to implement with my own kids; if something makes you uncomfortable or fearful, it must not be avoided or ignored. But rather, it should be more of a motivation to step out of your comfort zone and face it.
Did I consider not going to the concert for just a little second? Absolutely.
Did I avoid going to this concert? Absolutely not.
Would I ever not go? Absolutely not.
Was I a little bit fearful? Definitely at first.
But I was able to relax once the show got started and I forgot about these fears.
And I am so glad that I did.
There is a lot of evil in this world. And life can be dangerous sometimes. So, the last thing I would ever want to do is avoid those things which bring me such pleasure. After all, isn’t this pleasure what we are striving for?
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