Dealing With Fear
Fear: the paralyzing feeling that stands between you and... whatever you want.
I've got a thing or two to say about fear, how it stopped me from doing things I wanted to do. We usually don't fear the action itself but the outcome, the what ifs and we create this barrier in our head. Fear holds us back, takes some much away from us, the impetus and momentum in some cases. It also takes away experiencing things to the fullest because we're afraid, it's restraining.
We're human, so fear is part of the myriad of feelings we have. We're scared of the dark, clowns, or spiders. Sometimes we're afraid of bigger stuff, like love and commitment and getting hurt. Rejection, confrontation and feeling unloved are terrifying outcomes, so we restrain from putting ourselves in those situations out of fear.
I asked a few friends to share their experiences with fear, something they would have done if they weren't afraid. Their answers humbled and inspired me: from being afraid of telling her parents that she was changing careers, school, etc. to not starting a business. In some cases, not to fall in love.
This is what fear does to you. A few stories:
The one below struck me hard because of the outcome; I was asked to share what she's afraid to tell him, in case he reads this post:
"I believe in soulmates, and I'm sorry never told you you're mine. I'm afraid of what that means; I know you're mine because you changed me, without you knowing. And, every day I want to tell you things I can't. I want you happy and, I'm not going to be the one to make you smile every morning. I'm afraid of telling you, that I would've chosen you. Every single time. I waited but it was too late.
I'm aware that you're not the love of my life. I know we don't stand a chance and timing isn't on our side but, I'll always have feelings for you, and the only reason why I'm not there is that you never asked me to stay. You're afraid because you have feelings that you shouldn't have, you know there's no future for us. It's our fears that drove us away. I'll always be here, standing in the back of the room cheering for you, I'll be your biggest fan and your best friend, that's all I can be."
"I'm afraid of being the center of attention, so I've been hiding. Now I want to be a coach, and I need to face the fear of "all eyes on me" situation. I'm scared of that."
"I'm afraid to come out to my family and, feel rejected. They have no idea, and they won't take it well."
"I'm afraid of letting people in; I'm done getting hurt. I can't take that risk."
"I'm afraid of letting her know that I don't want to be with her anymore. I'm afraid to start over."
Fear stopped me on multiple occasions, primarily career related. Like fear made me give up on applying to companies because they're "out of my league." Still, regret it. Working on feeling like I have my crap together still.
But, in my personal life fear once it stopped me from loving harder because I was afraid of the depth of my feelings and the looming thing of rejection.
My fear of not being good enough is a hard one to overcome, I'm still trying, and it's the black cloud on a sunny day for me.
My fear of feeling unloved it's hard, because "we only take the love we think we deserve." Because I love hard and deep but I'm always afraid to show it, it feels like a weakness and I don't have a lot of those, so if I ever showed you one, I loved you and trusted you.
But, on the silver lining side: fear has been a motivator as well. I was terrified afraid of drowning while I wanted to learn how to surf. My fear fed my skill and I was able to stand and ride.
I was scared shitless of texting Jorge when he gave me his business card, it was my ex-boss (who was the person who married us!) who convinced me to do it; I'm so happy I did.
Fear makes you feel unworthy of what you deserve, that being love, a new job, that yoga headstand, those 225lbs deadlifts, and, we all need to face our fears somehow, to me? When fear paralyzes me I try to remember when I surfed for the first time, how my fear fed my skill. How invincible I felt.
We all should try to stare at our fears in the eyes and say a very loud FUCK YOU I'M DOING THIS!
Remember, in the end, this will always apply: "audentes fortuna iuvat."
What would you do if you weren't afraid?