Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Other Side of Fear

When it comes down to it, there is just one thing holding us all back from manifesting the life of our dreams.  At times, we may give this force other names.  We may say we're being held back by forces beyond our control - physical or economic limitations like comfort, time, money, or any laundry list of things.  But these are all excuses, and they all come down to the one thing we must face over and over again to grow into the person we were meant to be:  FEAR

The easiest thing is the world is to sit back, resist change and exist in the status quo.  But even that will eventually come to an end.  Change is a constant in life, and even if you refuse to change with time, the world keeps on spinning and change will be thrust upon you.  In the past, I've learned that lesson too many times to count.  Being passive in my own life and refusing to make decisions or take action simply because of the fear of change has proven to be a recipe for disaster.  Sure, I've become wiser over the years but I'm nowhere near 'there' yet!  There are plenty of times I still falter, hesitate or freeze because I'm afraid of making the 'wrong' decision or afraid of change.  But if the past few years have shown me anything, it's that I can survive (and even thrive within) changes - even huge, massive ones that I thought I'd never dig myself out of. 

I used to have a terrible fear of confrontation.  I guess this is a fairly common fear, especially among more reserved introverted types, but when I was little I used to literally make myself sick whenever I had to approach anyone about any topic I felt was even the least bit difficult to mention.  Teachers, parents, friends, you name it.  The fact that I still have this fear bothers me.  I still hesitate to bring up topics that I feel may rock the boat, or just simply need to be aired out.  Communication (verbal) was never my strong suite.  I'm ashamed to admit I used to be a huge offender of using the 'silent treatment' against people.  What a God-awful way of dealing with problems!  Thankfully I haven't pulled that move in years, but I still fear people thinking I'm not 'nice' if I try to stand up for myself or say 'No' to something.  However, this is something I've actively been working on ever since getting completely taken advantage of at my old job, and I do believe I am improving.  Um, hello, recent Apple store rampage anyone?!

Our fears are crazy little buggers aren't they?  For one thing, fears aren't real.  They are indeed figments of our imagination.  But we can never see that from where we stand inside our own heads.  It's only once we get to the other side, that we realize it was all an illusion.  Think about how many things (thousands, millions) in your life you have already overcome.  Starting from infancy and learning to walk.  Babies are very hesitant to step out on their own for the first time.  It takes a lot of half steps, holding mommy's hand, and walking with the help of a toy or piece of furniture until they are finally brave enough to let go completely and go out on their own.  And once that happens WATCH OUT!  The fear is gone, and soon you have a child that you can't pin down even if you tried!  They've seen the other side of fear and realized there was nothing indeed to be afraid of.  This pattern of breaking through fear barriers continues day after day, year after year, until the day we die.  It's the only way we grow.  If we weren't afraid of anything, there'd be nothing left to do!

So, although I've busted through what I thought were impenetrable fear walls the last couple of years, there are still so many I've yet to get to the other side of.  Some of these have easily identifiable plans of action, and some just completely baffle me to the point I don't even know where to start (those are the tough ones).  Here are a few fears I'm currently struggling with (in ranking order from the completely mundane to the incredibly serious):

1.  I fear I may never know what's it like to have perfectly manageable, shampoo-commercial worthy hair.

2.  I fear I may never know what it's like to have my very own washer and dryer.  (Community washer germs give me recurring nightmares.  What exactly is on these sheets I supposedly just washed?!)

3.  I fear I may never really know how to cook.  (True story.)

4.  I fear my cats may not actually live forever.  (Irrational.  They are magical cats and will live forever.)

5.  I fear I may never narrow down my 'passions' in this life to just one thing.

6.  Just like Augustus Water's in The Fault in our Stars, I fear leaving this life with no lasting legacy or positive impact on the planet.

7.  I fear I will never be able to see all the places in the world I want to see.

And the two biggies:

8.  I fear never discovering my purpose here on earth.

9.  I fear I may never know what it feels like to be a wife and mother. (<----HUGE)

Despite all of this though, I think no matter where we are in life, we've got to give ourselves a giant kick-a$$ high five for making it this far because think of all the things we've already accomplished.  The battles with our minds and fears will never end, because if they did we'd stop growing.  And that would mean we are either perfect (not possible) or dead!  So here's to keep on keepin' on.

What are some fears you've already broken through in your lifetime?
What fears are you still working to get to the other side of?


  1. Great post! Could not agree more that it's all too easy to be passive in this life and eventually decisions will be made FOR you. Obviously not at all optimal. This year I overcame a long-standing fear of swimming and became a swimmer.

    1. Yes! I was definitely a more passive 'let life happen to me' type of person when I was younger. It seems easier but in hindsight it's much worse because you become a passenger instead of the driver of your own life!

  2. What a great, great post, and not an easy one to write. I spoke about fear on my blog a few months back, and how I've had to learn to discern between fear and excitment/nerves. That has really helped me to put my feelings and emotions into perspective--what are things that are going to actually threaten the health and well being of myself and my family? And what are things that I am just anxious/nervous about the outcome of? Fear for me comes from a possibility of injury and or regret. And as long as I continue to act from a place of morals, continue to do my best to pursue and contribute to the happiness of myself and others around me, can I really fear what I am doing? Did I really fail?

    1. Indeed. Just throwing my deepest darkest secrets and fears out on the internet for all to see! Was it FDR who said we have nothing to fear but fear itself? It's so true. I think fear can show us both when to back off because there's danger but also when we must go forward in order break through personal walls.

  3. Fantastic post. Your #8 is my biggest. I feel positively purposeless and unfulfilled and I don't know how to fix it.

    1. Aww thank you Pam. #8 is something I've struggled with for a long long time. I feel like I do little things that matter here and there but I haven't found my true purpose for being here. I continue to work on it and see bits and pieces come together. I wish you peace and luck in finding your way as well!