Sarah lost more than a few family members to the Holocaust. She grew up hearing stories at home and her religious school about the grim details of WWII.
By the age of seven Sarah was talking about her fear of death—her own and that of her parents, siblings, friends and everyone else who mattered in her life.
This fear persisted into adulthood. When we finally met she was 49 and had been repeatedly diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety and depression.
While all of this was true, Sarah still did not have to tools to successfully move beyond her demons.
Having lived through a similar past, I understood the irrational fear that occupied her mind consciously and unconsciously.
I also knew that her self-destructive behaviors and thoughts were complicating matters and allowing these fears to grow stronger and deeper.
What fears do you experience that interfere with living your best life?
What I learned after years of being dominated by the voice of the fear of death is that the ultimate antidote is to live life to the fullest.
This means that regardless of how busy the day may be with responsibilities, that connecting with loved ones and engaging in meaningful activities makes me feel alive and present.
When I slip back into that fear I’m reminded that I’m not living in the now and several deep breaths later, I engage with a loved one, take a walk in nature or get involved in an interest that captures my heart and soul.
Most of us don’t speak of this fear. Putting words to the thoughts of our own demise is taboo for many—until we are at death’s door.
By giving language to this fear we take out some of the mystery and terror out of death and we can begin to normalize this part of our life’s cycle.
Certainly having a spiritual or religious belief system can help with the ability to grasp the meaning and inevitability of life’s end—as well as to soften this ultimate loss.
For me personally nothing has helped soothe the fear of death quite as much as the willingness to live full out, to make every day matter and being sure to do those activities that make my heart sing.
What do you do when the fear of death appears across your mental screen?
As always I’d love to hear your comments and ideas. I read them all so bring them on!