It was a simple question. “Are you okay with that?” What I heard in my head was, “are you concerned about Jeff’s camping by himself given his history of past suicide attempts?”
The question was asked in separate conversations by two friends. I do not know my friends’ intent behind their question. I never asked them to clarify. Instead I answered the question based on my added commentary regarding Jeff’s past suicide attempts and his safety.
That night I pondered about these brief exchanges. Why did I filter their question to be about Jeff’s safety and past suicide attempts? The reason was simple. I was not okay with Jeff camping by himself because I worried about his safety. I realized the root of my worry was my fear of losing Jeff.
A common sign of my fear is controlling behavior. I want to control situations to reduce my anxiety. In the past, I would have pleaded with Jeff not to go on his trip. My pleading usually escalates into arguments. The argument would result in Jeff resenting me. My hurt would then be intensified because I felt resented and misunderstood.
This time I choose not to sway Jeff’s decision. To ease my discomfort, I told myself that Jeff is his own person. He has his own free agency to make choices. He is responsible for the rewards and consequences of his actions. If he makes a decision that leads him into harm’s way then that is a lesson he needs to learn.
What good does it do me to worry about all the terrible “what ifs” I can envision? What if he gets in a car accident? What if he gets caught in the river current while fishing? What if he falls off a cliff? My mind is quick with numerous ways Jeff can die during a solo camping trip. All these thoughts stem from the fear of losing him. Instead I can choose to focus on loving Jeff and share his enthusiasm for his trip.
At The Clearing they said we are spiritual beings having a human experience. I like to think we are spiritual beings gaining a human experience. If to gain means to benefit, then everything we experience in this life is for our benefit.
That means even during the worst moments in life we are still benefiting. This past year has been the most challenging and heartbreaking for me. Yet I consider this is a time in my life when I’ve benefitted the most. I am incredibly grateful for the lessons and knowledge I’ve gained in a very short period of time.
Each person is learning in their own time and their own way. Along my life’s journey I have been writing a book of rules. With each experience I add and change the rules. A long time ago I created a rule that unpleasant events and feelings were bad. I’ve rewritten that rule recently. I now try to practice that all feelings and events serve a purpose for my greater good.
So what is the purpose of my fear of losing someone I love? After much pondering I finally came to my conclusion. It is the understanding that if or when the worst case scenarios do happen in life, we are all here gaining a human experience. Every experience is for my own benefit to learn and grow from.
In the past I tried to control situations to calm my fears and that is okay. My intention moving forward is to find the purpose in my fear and to continually love myself and others.