Do Not Be Afraid

“Do not be afraid” is easier said than done, especially when the fear is of one’s own death. In fact, most people are terrified into emotional paralysis at the thought of dying. I’ve found that when most are asked to explore what specifically they fear, most say they fear “not knowing what will happen to me.”

For some, their fears stem from a lifetime of considering an afterlife. First, they might have asked themselves, “Does an afterlife exist?” If they answer affirmatively, the next logical question they try to find an answer for is “What’s that afterlife like?” In the event that there are multiple landing points in the person’s concept of an afterlife, then, naturally, the person might wonder, “Where will I end up?”

There are no absolute answers to any of those questions, but there seems to be a general sense of fear that comes from not having access to those absolute answers.

I encourage my clients to accept the fact that they will never “know” those answers, and then I suggest that they consider curiosity over fear. Instead of “I’m terrified to die,” I work with my clients (those who believe that there is something after one’s earthly life) to help them adopt a different regard for what lies ahead. I challenge them to think, “I’m curious to experience what’s next.” For many, it’s little more than a mind-trick, a way of altering their thinking to affect their emotional reaction to their thoughts. Some ease into these new thought parameters, others struggle to reshape their lifelong thoughts.

I can assure my clients that the shift in thinking can be profoundly rewarding: to approach one’s death with curiosity, instead of fear, makes the path easier to tread.

Published by Jenna Brownson

Early morning writer, mother to four, wife to one, recovering lawyer, End-of-Life Doula.

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