For all of us, fear is in some way holding us back.
Fear plays an equally crucial and detrimental role in our lives. It’s always there, chilling in the background (if not centre stage), making a lot of very loud, very distracting noise whenever it feels we’re about to do something stupid.
In fairness to fear, it has our best interests at heart. It stops us from casually strolling off a cliff, investing in bad business decisions, and for the most part, protects us from embarrassment and humiliation.
However, it also safeguards us (and the rest of the world) from our own authentic selves. It prefers safety, comfort and contentment, and is definitely not fond of risk-taking and daring greatly.
If we allow it, it can, and will, consume us.
Often, it does this without our full awareness, covertly derailing our lives under the clever disguise of self-preservation.
This is what scares me most.
Before we even drill down to what our fears are, the biggest and most important step toward over-coming fear is acknowledging that it’s there.
Of course, it does require some serious, bad-ass self-honesty. We all like to think that we understand our biggest fears (and are ready to face them head on), but often we’re afraid to allow our minds into places of potential fear, in fear of, well, fear.
‘Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom’
It is a process not to be rushed, and must be treated with care, patience, common sense and calm rational thought. However, one must always remember the joyful emancipation and elation to be found in the simple acknowledgement and understanding of one’s own fear, and in the inevitable (and gradual) understanding of your mind.
In fact, start bite sized. Before you try to liberate the hand-sized Huntsman spider from your home, try removing that tiny orangy spider chilling in the corner with a long broom. Yes, it will feel uncomfortable, but (and this is an important step) you then get to proudly look back and say: Boom. Progress.
My relationship with fear.
Fear and I are regular companions. It’s not spiders I fear.
Every time I choose to dare enough to put a creation of my own into the world, the fear is there. It kind of goes like this:
- IDEA ARRIVES (Uncontainable excitement) —>
- CONSIDERATION OF IDEA (Rational excitement. Enter fear.)
[OPTION 1= Abandon ship]
[OPTION 2 = COMMITMENT TO IDEA (Calm happiness)] —>
- PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT (Fear gains strength as the novelty of idea wanes.) —>
- THE SLOG (The idea cemetery. Fear is at its most present.) —>
[Additional and indefinite periods of PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT and THE SLOG often take place here]
- COMPLETION (Uncontainable excitement).
It happens every time. There is always at least one moment following the commitment to idea where I feel an overwhelming urge to abandon the idea and cut my losses, believing I would have been better abandoning ship in stage 2.
The fear of not.
Fear will always play a role. It must. We’re not machine, we’re human. Fear is a normal, very necessary part of it all, and if we’re aware, mindful and a little clever, it can be harnessed and utilised for our own benefit. Use fear as a message; a simple warning not to give up, but to tread with care.
Ultimately, it is still fear that causes me to act, and to keep daring greatly. For me, it is the fear of not; of not daring. It is the fear that I may accept comfort and contentment, and will stop exploring and discovering.
While I do still act out of fear, this fear is also, ironically, quite comforting. I know that the fear of not is too great, and that as long as I’m breathing, I will strive to learn, create & grow. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
And knowing that, it makes it much easier to act not out of fear, but out of excitement, and overwhelming happiness.