First, please take note of the choice of words within the title, ‘when you fear’. This is an important distinction to make from, ‘when someone you love has distanced themselves from you’. Hence, this is the crux of this post.

Fear is the basis of stress and is often displayed through irritability, anger outbursts, and avoidance behaviours. For example, we don’t book a physical with our doctor for fear we might get bad news. We don’t make a point of calling our son or daughter because we fear they don’t have interest in speaking to us, we don’t tell our partner we are lonely in fear of hearing they no longer love us. Fear is the basis of much of our anxiety.

Anxiety can be displayed in many ways. Some suffer in silence while others live life through anger (unable to regulate their emotions), pessimism, or irritability. Some hide their fears with addictive behaviours, such as alcoholism, gabbling, phone use, marijuana use, or food binging.

So, what to do in those anxiety ridden times? You want – but you can’t – you want – but you can’t. Push – pull – push – pull – push – pull. It is energy sucking behaviour we put ourselves through. Before you know it, you realize you are ruminating in these thoughts for hours during the day.

“Fear is the basis of stress and is often displayed through irritability, anger outbursts, and avoidance behaviours.”

via @luellajonk

Anyone who knows me knows that one of my most favourite slogans out there is Nike’s ‘Just Do It’. I try to live by this slogan. Why? Because our mind constantly tells us to do the opposite, ‘Don’t do it’. Why? Why does our psyche seem to battle with our primal needs? Because it wants to protect us from harm. Evolutionally, we are wired to stave away from danger.

Our lizard brain, or deepest layer, is responsible for our deepest fears, emotions, and needs. Think of it as overseeing fight, flight, feeding, fear, freezing up, and fornication. However, sometimes we need to rely more on the outmost layer of our brain, or what is called the neocortex. After all, we are not a lizard.

Okay, enough on paleoanthropology. What do we do when we find ourselves ruminating on something that we really have no clue is true or false? It is quite simple. I suppose I already gave you the answer. Just do it. Take the leap of faith. 

I suppose you have the choice between ripping off the band aid and dipping your toe in the water. For those of you that know me, I am the type to do the former rather than the latter. I like being direct. Life is too short to beat around the bush. However, let me provide you with an example of how I would approach one of the scenarios I provided earlier.

You are fearing your child is distancing themselves from you. What to do? Depending on how safe you feel in speaking to them directly, either on the phone or in person, you may choose to write them a letter instead. This is especially helpful when you are speaking with a highly defensive person. Okay then, what do I write? Allow me to provide you with a script.

Hi {son/daughter}

{Insert usual chit-chat about whatever topic if you feel necessary to bridge the communication gap, depending how long you have been non-communicative}.

There has been something I have been struggling with for a while now, so I decided it would be best for me to get it off my chest and down on paper. It is easier for me to do this in letter form than in person. I hope you don’t mind.

For the past X months/years, I feel we have not been able to connect in a way that feels comfortable to me. I realize this is a ME thing, and not a YOU thing, and that I have to be respectful of your role in our partnership. I fear we are becoming distant in our relationship. I miss connecting with you and I am unsure if you are feeling the same or not.

If you are too busy, I understand. But I am wondering if we could problem solve around this. Rather than I just randomly calling you (possibly at a time you cannot talk) we could schedule a time to talk. It of course needs to work around my schedule as well, since I am not available 24/7, but I would hope there would be a time that would work for both of us.

I wonder about your commute time on the way to and from work? Maybe when you are walking the dog, folding laundry, or doing the dishes? I suggest this because I know you are busy, and I do remember those times as well. I suggest these times because they are daily, somewhat mundane activities and connecting might make them a bit more enjoyable as well.

I guess what I am saying is that I really miss you and I don’t want us to lose each other. As I get older, I realize how important family is to me.

Let me know your thoughts.



And there you have it. Done. No more thinking. This script can be adapted to many different scenarios. It is all about being authentic about your feelings and learning how to express feelings without criticism or blame. It is important to practice vulnerability.

And if ripping off the band aid seems too difficult right now, take small steps with someone who is not as near and dear to you. An example of this might be practicing authenticity with a friend by being honest with your feelings. Trust me, you will not regret it.