Fear has inspired a plethora of quotes meant to release fear’s death grip on our psyches and propel us to the other side of whatever it is we fear:
“Do one thing every day that scares you.” Eleanor Roosevelt
“I am not afraid. I was born to do this.” Joan of Arc
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Franklin D. Roosevelt
Recently, during a conversation with a very dear friend, she used the word “fearless” to describe her son, and we engaged in a discussion about whether or not being fearless is positive or negative or, perhaps, a bit of both. Since the conversation ended, I have thought more about fear and what it means to be fearless in a world wrought with both real and imagined threats. We all have something we are afraid of, but not all of us are fearless.
Sometimes, fear serves to protect us, and it can motivate us to take the necessary safety precautions to being harmed. Other times, fear imprisons us and prevents us from reaching a goal or enjoying a given moment in time. Many times, we confuse this double-sided coin that is fear. We pass up wonderful opportunities, because fear paralyzes us, or we mistakenly believe we are invincible and fool-hardily throw caution to the wind. Sometimes, discerning between fear as a protector and a prison can be quite difficult.
I started to think about my own fears, both rational ones and irrational ones, and I thought about how I confront or avoid what I fear. Some things I fear, like snakes, are easy to avoid and do not impact my daily life. Other fears, like losing loved ones either to death or to the end of a relationship, are much more real to me, and while they do not necessarily permeate my every day thoughts, they do have an invisible hold on my mind and heart. Some days, I have fear against the ropes, while other days, fear has me cowering in the corner. Every day, I have a choice about which scenario plays out in my life, if only I remind myself of this.
Having recently mourned the loss of a cherished friend and celebrated another birthday, I have been doing some soul-searching about my the current status of my life on every level and re-evaluating my goals. Whenever I came to an area of my life that was lacking, I noticed that fear was at the core of this. More specifically, I either have a fear of the unknown or a fear of my heart being hurt again. Those two are mighty forces to contend with, when trying to forge ahead to create and live a life of purpose, joy, kindness, and love. So, how do I face my fears to transition from being fearful to fearless?
To be honest, I do not have a well-defined answer, as it continues to evolve. What I do know is this, my desire to have the life I envision grows stronger, and the thought of continuing to stay in stagnant situations, engaging in self-defeating behaviors, and subscribing to faulty beliefs grows more wearisome and cumbersome. I haven’t figured out how to break through all of the walls of fear, but I am chipping away at them, brick by brick. I may fail and get hurt along the way, but those risks pale in comparison with the risk of living an unfulfilled life and dying without ever truly living. I definitely am not fearless, but I intend to find out what is on the other side of my fears. I have a feeling that what awaits me is even grander than what I have imagined, and that is an unknown I can look forward to and not fear.
That’s another story . . .
Categories: That's Another Story