As we face a present filled with fear, it becomes easy to allow fear to control our every interaction. The trap of fear is that when it takes root in us and digs deep, we can lose sight of our best possible future. When we live too closely with fear, it seeps into our being and festers. At its worse, it makes us forget who we are and who we aspire to be. We forget that we can be happy and play. We forget that we can still accomplish our goals. We forget that others are facing fear as well. We forget to dream as we are caught in the daily struggle to avoid drowning in this current sea of fear.
We face getting through our daily lives; all the while, trying to achieve goals that may at times seem impossible. As if that is not enough, unexpected hurdles can derail out journey. The truth is that at times, our reality can be fear inducing. Acknowledging this is crucial to staying afloat. After acknowledging what we face, we must find the strategies to manage.
One strategy is to manage fear with kindness. Kindness should be expressed toward ourselves. We can use kind words when we talk to ourselves. We can work to eliminate negative self-talk. We can decide to focus on our strengths and opportunities for growth rather on comparisons or put downs. We can use our most private conversations for positive affirmations.
Kindness should be expressed to our family and friends. The people who know us best can be on the front line for receiving the spillover from our fear. Our closest family, friends, and allies may get the brunt of our fear-induced anger, control, and coldness. We owe them more. We can uplift rather than tear down others by focusing on kindness throughout our daily communication. Praising and encouraging our family and friends enriches their sense of who they are. Instead of lingering on our fear, we can target making the lives of others richer.
Kindness should be expressed to those beyond our close circle. Showing thanks and appreciation for those we encounter as we move through our daily tasks of shopping, working, commuting can benefit them and us. Slowing down to let another go first, smiling at the person who hands us our coffee, authentically responding to someone’s have a nice day salutation, may take effort on our bad days; but the payoff may be worth it.
It costs little and does not hurt to add a bit of kindness to the universe. The extra dollop of kindness we add may do more than we can ever guess to dispel the fear that someone else may be experiencing. Who knows, the kindness given, may be the kindness returned when we need it most.
Meet the Writer
Sheila Yarbrough, PhD is a senior-level education administrator with 20+ years of experience in teaching, student affairs, business and leadership training. She is successful in fostering student academic success across disciplines by delivering quality classroom and online instruction through creative student engagement. Dr. Yarbrough is a transformational leader with experience managing a diverse and multicultural workforce and providing faculty development. With her excellent interpersonal skills, she has a proven history of cultivating and maintaining collaborative teams and partnerships with college administrators, staff, faculty and key stakeholders. Dr. Yarbrough is recognized by students as passionate and personable and creating an engaging learning environment.