"The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."
By now I believe that everyone is aware of this insane situation we are seeing unfolding today but if you still don't know, Vladimir Putin has declared war and immediately procceded to attack Ukraine, for a lot of individuals an event like this one existed only in the past but now it's a reality, and some people are even discussing the possibility of a world war 3, which can represent a true danger to our existence on earth.
So the questions that may remain in our minds are, how can we not feel fear when faced with something of this magnitude? and should we feel guilty for trying to have our sanity while there are thousands of people suffering in the line of the war?
And to discuss this I will first start by the emotional side, firstly I will explain why you aren't wrong for trying to not panic, why prioritazing your mental health shoudn't bring guilty and why you should never try to force yourself to care about something more than you can.
1 - Why guilty isn't the answer?
Altrough the first reaction we have when we are seeing people facing hunger, despair, poverty and pain is to immediatly feel that we are wrong for having a relatively peaceful life, we get this idea that we don't deserve the happinness we had while others are fighting each day for their lives, and we in turn start to undermine our own life to quench this guilt.
The worst part of this proccess is that it happens unconsciously for the great majority of people, many are going to sabotage the fulfillment and satisfaction they have managed to gather without even knowing before it's too late, imagine seeing your life starting to crumble in front of you while knowing you have no one but yourself to blame, and even worse, not understand why you acted the way you behaved the way you did.
So now you may be wondering, Do I deserve to be happy while other people are suffering? and shouldn't I try to support those people in any way I can? and my asnwer may surprise you but it is quite simple: Absolutely yes, and yes too, but not in the way you think.
The first thing that needs to be clear is: Happines isn't something you or I deserve, it's a right everyone should have, this means that you should never feel guilty about feeling good if you didn't hurt anyone in the proccess of obtaining it, it's ok to feel it even if others don't have it, and even more importantly, if we are not happy or at least in a good condition, how we will be able to truly help those who need?
Understand this simple phrase is the key to stop feeling guilt about your happines and being able to see how this negatively affects your ability to help other people is the path to answer the question regarding what we should do to help them, one thing a lot of people miss to understand is that when we are operating under negative emotions such as fear, guilt or anxiety, we don't tend to make the best decisions not for ourselves or to other people.
Doing your best doesn't means wrecking everything you have, it's actually the opposite, you have to try your best to grow more so you can share what you have to help others, you will have to accept your fortunate sittuation and see how you will be able to help someone isntead of trying to waste your time in guilt tripping yourself, be it conciously or unconciously, guilt only hinders our ability to help people, and genuine good will comes when we aren't seeking forgiveness.
Now that you understand why you shouldn't feel bad for prioriting your mental health under such circumstances, I will explain the method to control your emotions when everything surrounding you apoints to negativity and possible catastrophic events.
2 - Is it possible to conquer the fear and the anxiety?
If you have ever read any of my articles you know my answer, it's a 100% yes, I firmly believe that we are able to control and accept our emotions in every situation, not mattering how bad, stressing or anxiety inducing it is, and here this philophy still holds true, and I will show you how.
The first step is understanding a simple concept, that we can't control anything, or to be more precise:
I can't stress enough how important this is when we are speaking about emotional stability, I would say that at least 70% of our negative emotions come from the fact that we are always trying to control things that are out of our reach, accepting our limits and capabilities is essential if you desire to not be fazed by any external event.
Want me to give you an example on how one may do this nowadays? when you are looking for news for hours long, without even filtering the amount of negativity you receive, only focusing on receiving more and more information, reaching a point where instead of learning more you are just filling your anxiety more and more, this is something that I was guilty off during the pandemic times, and it's extremely easy to fool ourselves by saying we are just trying to get well informed, when the reality is that we are trying to control the world trough a small screeing feeding us more and more of this illusion.
After truly having this understanding, you need to change how you behave to reflect the way you think, limit the amount of time you spend watching the news, limit the amount of time you spend thinking about what is uncertain, create a safety plan under the possibility that the worst will happen and focus only on the present after that, after all, why worry for the future when you already know what to do under the worst possible situation?
Lastly, you also need to learn what concerns you and what doesn't, by this I mean that you need to find your priorities in life, both the people you love the most and also the values you belive in, after having a honest list of both, see how your actions may be in accordance with those priorities, as an example, ask yourself, tweeting "The end of the world is near now guyssss", is going to help any of your priorities in any way?
If you don't have really weird ideals, you answered no, and this should be what you always do when you feel the desire to act after receiving an external input, it's really easy to go along the bandwagon and spreading more and more fear accidentaly, herd mentality is unconscious and works pervasively well in our era of quick information and even quickier emotional reactions.
To conclude, our environment can try to change our direction, the world can try to instill fear on our journey and even the universe can collude to bring uncertainty to our steps, but we are the ones in charge of our own existence, and nothing can stop us if we don't let them.