Dare to be YOU!
Introduction to Brandlady.com
Dealing with ‘Shrinking World’ Syndrome
Bev Murrill, Contributing Writer
Have you ever felt squeezed on every side? Do you dream of an island where you can retreat into your own little world, away from people and pressure?
The trouble with pulling back when life crowds in is that the more we retreat, the more it pushes in on us. Retreating is an expression of fear, and fear has tentacles. When we withdraw in one area, it pursues us to another. The more we choose to run rather than stand, the more we find ourselves running again to another hiding place.
The problem is, fear won’t leave us alone. We pull back into a safe place, but it’s only safe for a short time and then we’re confronted again with what we’re afraid of, up close and personal. It’s as though fear, like a savage dog, can smell our stress levels and it pursues us without mercy from one hiding place into the next, and on again until we are out of spiritual breath and leaking hope and strength for the future.
When we give into fright by running away, we train the fear that putting more pressure on us will work. The more we run, the greater pressure fear will exert to keep us running. Where do we run? Anywhere-as long as it’s ‘away’. Our avoidance mechanisms appear to work at the time, but as the trend continues, we suddenly find we have developed Shrinking World Syndrome and our options and relationships, along with our hearts, grow smaller and smaller. Not only that, but we begin to run out of safe places to hide.
That’s the bad news! Is there any good news? Yes, but even though it’s good, it isn’t easy. The answer to Shrinking World Syndrome is to become proactive against fear, turning to face it once and for all. Make a decision that you’ve had enough of being confined and restricted and you aren’t going to take it anymore.
It’s not easy to face fear and the suffering that comes with it, but it’s the only way to break through to a fulfilled life.
Suffering has a purpose, and trying to escape from it not only confines our lives but constricts our hearts also, making it difficult to trust others and causing us to become hardened to the world around us. We lessen our capacity to love when we attempt to shut suffering out of our lives. Every time we avoid a situation or relationship that causes pain by pretending it’s not there, another little door shuts in our ability to relate with others.
I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t deal with relationships or issues that have become toxic to us, but that we do it by facing the fear and pain rather than running to another hiding place.
The old saying, ‘what you run from will one day own you’, means if we run from rejection we will increasingly be made victims of rejection. Fear, once allowed room, finds ways of spreading its tentacles into other areas of our lives until we are afraid of everything. Even though we don’t realise it, the same scenarios that make us run will keep recurring as long as fear finds that the strategy works. The more we run, the more we will have to run.
To live in the freedom we have to face fear, rejection, apprehension and pain. Avoidance won’t help anything. ‘Away’ isn’t the solution. Like everything in life, it’s a choice and the only person who can make the choice to enlarge your world is YOU.
Break out of confinement and get back into living your life.
It’ll be worth it.