• Tina Van

Overcoming Fear in Isolation

Updated: Apr 27, 2020

It has been about two weeks since a stay-at-home order was issued. The entire world lives in fear. During times like these we have many reasons to feel fear and anxiety. Some of us will experience these far worse, and combined with isolation, we worry if we will ever see an end to it.

I'm grateful to be a part the Tacoma Refugee Choir, a community that has always worked address these issues firsthand, understanding the negative effects of sudden change in our lives. Changes out of our control can bring great stress, especially when there is no end in sight. Only by facing our fears can we become fearless.

Acknowledging fear

There is a wise Vietnamese saying “Phía sau một cuộc đời tươi đẹp là không ít những đau khổ.” This saying acknowledges that the beauty in life is not limited to the happiness and success we experience. If anything, the great pain I have endured throughout life brings a beautiful contrast to my happiest moments. When I understand why I feel fear or anxiety, my emotions become more manageable. To move on from here we must accept these fears, understanding that they are valid feelings worthy of embracing as much we would embrace joy or laughter.

Acknowledgment is only the first step. Understanding your fear, however, is to tap into the wisdom of your emotions. It takes great courage to face these fears. When we are facing pressures such as sickness or scarcity, it is truly impossible to be completely “fearless.” So I thank all of the essential workers who are laying their lives on the line right now. True fearlessness is facing the odds against you and continuing to stand.

Turn to gratitude for strength

What are you grateful for? No, really, what are you grateful for and why? I want you to really think about your answers. Write them down. Shout them from a rooftop (within a 6-foot distance), and don’t ever let go of these answers. They are yours, and yours only to cherish. Allow them to motivate you, empower you, and guide you. Start your gratitude list and see where it takes you. As corny as it may seem, this is a widely-tested, simple and valuable tool in bringing yourself out of a dark place.

I am grateful for..
My Mom - Thank you for nurturing me and taking so many sacrifices to ensure survival, freedom, and happiness for our family. Con yêu mẹ rất nhiều. 
My Community - I would not be here without the collective support of organizations like Palmers Scholars, College Success Foundation, Northwest Philathe University of Washington Tacoma.  Tacoma Refugee Choir! 
You - I am grateful that I am not alone in this. To know that someone could be anywhere in the world reading this brings me great joy. Know you are not alone.

Thank you for connecting with me. Stay home, stay safe, and don't be a stranger!

Sincerely, Tina Văn.

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