A few months ago, I wrote a post about fear and the role it often plays in why we do or don’t do things. Here are some snippets from the comments:
“…In 2012 I would like to start school. I would like to stop telling myself I can’t do certain things…”
“…would love to stop myself from giving into fear…really anxious to learn how to use this emotion to propel me forward rather than back. It’s always been a natural reaction to run the other way…but 2011 has taught me that it’s important to walk through the fear and use it as a positive force. On the other hand, it could just mean we are all on the right track when it creeps up…so there’s now an added sense of excitement when I think of a crazy idea that both scares me and gives me goosebumps!”
“…I’ve successfully lost 75 pounds, but gained 10 of it back, so now I want to finish what I started a two years ago. No reason why I shouldn’t. I need to stop giving into fear of accomplishment.”
These comments and my own intention to have a clearer understanding of the role of fear in my life led me to explore the subject further on WCD. Here we are a few months later and I’m ready to make a lot of changes in my life. Of course, fear pokes out its head and reminds me that it’s still there.
So, in honor and in spite of that attention whore that we call fear, I wanted to revisit this with you all today.
Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood. ~Marie Curie
Once I became aware that fear was affecting my choices, I really didn’t know what to do about it. I guess I had to just sit with that awareness for awhile. In some aspects of my life, I’m still sitting with it. What I have developed though, is a passion for breaking down my fears and negative patterns so that I can understand them. If something bothers me, I’m determined to figure out why and make peace with it so it can’t control me. It doesn’t always happen as quickly as I want, but it’s so much better than it used to be.
Panic at the thought of doing a thing is a challenge to do it. ~Henry S. Haskins
One of the commenters above mentions a sense of excitement that comes from a crazy idea that scares her and also gives her goosebumps (the good kind!). That’s the kind of scary that we shouldn’t avoid. There’s probably something you want to do that gives you goosebumps, but you’re afraid to do it.
For instance, I want to be a writer. But the idea of writing for a living completely freaks me out. I love to write, but what if I stop loving it when I start doing it for money? Sometimes we’re not afraid of the thing itself, but we’re afraid of the process of getting there. My suggestion would be to just start. Do something to bring you a step closer. My start has been blogging and guest posting. I’m just beginning to realize that this is my purpose and I’m taking it more seriously. What’s next? The possibilities give me those good goosebumps, so I’m going to keep writing. (Update: A couple months after I wrote this I got my first paid freelancing gig! Woohoo!)
There is a time to take counsel of your fears, and there is a time to never listen to any fear. ~George S. Patton
Since we all must deal with fear on some level, there comes a time when we must discern between the fear that can push us forward and the fear that can hold us back. The answers are already there inside of us if we only listen. It’s called intuition. When there’s something positive and challenging that you want to do with your life, that’s when it’s time to take fear by the hand and bring it along with you. Recognize the nervous energy for what it is and allow it to fuel you. Likewise, when your inner voice tells you that you’re heading down the wrong path, believe it. Trust yourself.
Anything I’ve ever done that ultimately was worthwhile… initially scared me to death. ~Betty Bender
To free yourself from that frustrating inertia that comes from fear, learn to recognize the difference between the excited goosebumps and the warning signs and consider letting fear be your friend. No? Frenemy maybe? No matter how you look at it, remember that with great risk comes great reward.