We can become worried and fearful for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes its because we've never done something before and we want to keep ourselves safe. Other times we've had an experience and it was very difficult for us and it's still not entirely processed. In this instance, anything similar fills us with the same original emotions of fear, maybe being trapped, not having a choice and overwhelm, sometimes to the point where we think we might die.
These are all nervous system responses that if remain unprocessed play out in day to day life, creating what feels like shark infested waters, where danger lurks round every corner.
It's really hard to relax and recover as we're designed to when you are on high alert all the time. This means our body doesn't repair as it should. Wounds take longer to heal, coughs and colds stick around for longer, our digestion doesn't get as much nutrition out of our food as it could, we don't sleep well, we feel like we can't switch off and that nobody understands us, which makes us feel dangerously isolated and alone (cue more fear).
This pattern plays out until the cycle is broken.
The first step in that pattern break is if our fear and worry gets noticed.
There's something wonderfully calming if someone says "I'm sorry, I see I pushed you too far there, let me back off".
It creates this response:
"Wow! You saw me! You saw my struggles! You accepted me! You held me whilst I was in a state of fear".
You see, there's absolutely nothing wrong with being fearful, it's a great piece of feedback. It's when the fear is ignored and unaddressed it all goes awry. When we ignore our fear, we separate ourselves from our primal instincts and quite literally "shut down" to prevent further damage.
This shutting off from our instincts and our emotions, if left unaddressed, goes on to create fears, phobias, psychological issues, physical health problems, poor financial decisions, unhelpful relationship choices and unhealthy living. That's a lot of issues stemming back to potentially a single unaddressed incident where we were pushed out of our window of tolerance. (The reality is, it is never just a single incident, but some experiences stand out as more contributory than others).
So coming back to noticing if someone else is worried, you're likely to need to be actively looking for it or you'll not see it.
Notice how Dainty has a slightly wrinkled eyelid? She's pulled her eyelids up so she has better vision because the presence of a wet sponge is worrying her.
This is backed up by the bidirectional ears, that have one ear pointing backwards that I'm reading as a "no". However, in this instance, one ear is pointing forwards and I'm reading that as a "yes", which I'm taking to mean "I'm scared, but I also want what you are offering".
Reading the signs
How we tackled that mixed response is for another post. But we did tackle it and the outcome was we put a positive sponge experience in the memory bank, which to date makes that Dainty's most positive bathing experience ever.
What will you do today to make both your world and the world of others a safer place? How could you acknowledge both your fear and fear in another?
We'd love to hear your experiences.