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  • Leah Barrett

What Do You Stand For?


I am working with a Coach, a Life Coach. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made. It’s an investment in self. My major focus has been to gain guidance and support as I come through being diagnosed with cancer and now on the other side of treatment. Lately (and mostly), the work has centered around better understanding my Fear (yes, with a capital F). What am I afraid of? What triggers the fear? What helps me feel safe? In this looking inward I have come to realize that Fear is all around us. I realize my epiphany is not some big “ah-ha” for most. Yet, what is new to me is how challenging it is to not live in fear when we are surrounded by messages that tell us we are supposed to be afraid.

Case in point. I was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer. As I have been trying to find my footing, I do what I always do: RESEARCH. Yep, I have this habit of leading with my head. Well, that back-fired. What I found is that almost every organization with the mission to raise money to advocate for supportive services and basic science research looking for promising treatments kicks off their campaigns with the statistic that over 50% of the women diagnosed with ovarian cancer will die. Scary. Does this motivate you to do something about this awful truth? Or does it make you want to run for cover?

Think of the numerous other examples that invade our consciousness on a daily basis. Here’s what I came up with and it’s the Short List (in no particular order):

  1. ISIS

  2. Global Warming

  3. GMOs

  4. Vaccines

  5. Red Meat

  6. Cell Phones

  7. Trans-Fat

  8. Gluten

  9. Sitting

  10. Stress

  11. Immigration

  12. Food-Borne Illness

  13. Donald Trump

  14. The Big One

  15. Aging

  16. Abdominal Fat

  17. Technology

  18. Sugar

  19. Cancer

  20. Cancer Treatments

I am not declaring that I am “for” or “against” any of the aforementioned subjects. What I am declaring is to stop proselytizing Fear. I can’t log on to my computer, turn on the TV or the radio without hearing that the sky is falling. We are wired to respond to fear with our unconscious Fight or Flight response. It works. It’s adaptive. We perceive a threat. Stress hormones are released. We get ready to run away (flight) or fight like hell. Perpetual fear means a perpetual fear response. That means chronic stress hormones flooding our bodies. Which ultimately leads to a suppressed immune system. Which sets us up for illness. That’s what happens in the body. Fear breeds fear. That’s what happens in the heart. Fear creates an “Us” vs. “Them” dynamic. That’s what happens in the head.

So, the next time you find the urge to Fight against, instead, consider Standing For something. We can make a point, raise awareness, educate others by Standing For Hope, Optimism and Solutions. I challenge all of us to proselytize a different message. Dare I say, “Let’s Fear fear.”

Take a Stand.

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