I have been afraid before. There are many things that scare me but in true grown up ways I call it things like being concerned. No one wants to admit they are afraid. That is simply weak and adults who are success can’t afford to say that. It seems human nature to fear what we don’t think we can control and so much is sometimes out of our control. The risk from things we fear can compel us to have these gut clenching experiences where life seems volatile and even unsafe as a result. Yet, each day when we open our eyes there is a choice made on how we will live with this fear.
At one point in my life fear seemed a normal every day feeling. It was how I survived. There were so many things in my life that were uncertain and unstable that it created this condition of anxiousness in how to move. I thought at the time this was how life was too. There are after all no guarantees and this constant maneuvering to try to create some semblance of balance is at best exhausting. The worry that comes from living with fear takes its toll and adds to the already growing things we are concerned (i.e. scared) about. Without it at times I wonder if I would have made the decisions I did but quickly remind myself I wouldn’t want to repeat some of it to find out.
Fear was my survival means. It helped me stay out of situations that could have drained everything I had or put me in harm’s way. It served me to have some fear back in those days when I only had myself to rely on and the world was scary. I could wrap myself in fear on cold nights and know that I was doing all I knew to do and even some things I didn’t but was trying to figure it out. It gave me growth, courage and a whole lot of other skills. How easy it is to slip into a dark space in life and go free falling into the abyss. I was doing all could to avoid that because I feared that the most.
There comes a time in our lives though where we have to move beyond the fear. Or rather we should. It seems to be our choice as fear is always a welcoming host. It will always be there, just at our finger tips waiting to expand if we let it. Fear is this cloth that never seems to finish unfolding off the bolt. Moving out of the direct line of fear though is never easy. Time and again we will find ourselves looking at it, even seeking comfort in it as it is what many of us know as our normal. It is what I know as normal even to this day when I don’t have it at the forefront of how I live, it is still there. When things look shaky in my life I immediately go to that safe space of fear and let the anxiety of the situation come alive in my bones. It’s from that position I can move in a way I know to deal with whatever is in front of me.
From my own experience I believe you can be both a warrior and have fear. So many of us are strong when we need to be, doing what needs to be done or what we can do and yet we hurt on the inside. There is uncertainty, anxiety, stress and exhaustion from it all. We are scared and yet we do our best to not show it. We don’t have time to show it either. That’s what keeps us up at night. The space between the stars where we have to then contend with the fear and scared feelings we couldn’t risk showing during the day. This is where I learned to deal with my fear. I figured out how to channel it and use it to make me stronger but at times it also just made me cry. Fear is like that, it sometimes is stronger than us and we have to let the emotions out first in order to leverage it for our next move.
That part about moving beyond the fear, is nice pretty words intended to be inspirational and motivating. No one wants to actively live in fear but yet many of us do. When we are in the midst of it we feel like we are wielding fear in protection of ourselves so it feels like we are doing something, anything to gain back the upper hand. Most of the time though we are simply making it worse or at the very least making it bigger in our own minds. Fear is real and I don’t down play it but I also know how it can manifest into real life monsters we cannot contain and their incessant appetite grows once loose.
Letting fear have a place in our life is like having a preservative in our food. It keeps things supposedly fresh for longer shelf life. We know it’s not natural or even good for us but we do it anyway. The taste is sweet and addicting. It fills that spot in us where uncertainty lives. Now we have nervousness and anxious overwhelming feelings that block the challenge of having to face something head on. Delaying it makes it feel like we can borrow time and maybe it will go away. We can divert the challenge in front of us and fear can subside for a while. That temporary high though only lasting a little while.
Avoidance only works so long. Often it is a matter of being ready or not and life puts us in these situations when it is time for us to face something. When I realized the pattern of things happening in my life over and over again I knew it was life telling me I had avoided it long enough. I could continue to avoid it and life would continue to serve it up to me waiting patiently for my time to be ready in facing it. Fear was only the mirror that I needed to look in to know I was responsible for ending this cycle.
It didn’t mean I was no longer afraid though. Fear and afraid are distinct. Afraid is when we acknowledge that feeling of fear and we act. Fear is a state where we linger. I was very much terrified at some of the things I had to do but fear had festered long enough. I questioned my actions every step of the way too. However, right or wrong in my decision or action I had to move past the fear that was holding me hostage. That’s just it, you know. We take this comfort in being uncomfortable because we are afraid that what is just beyond that feeling could be worse. Sure it could be better too but we don’t know for sure so we sink into this spot of trying to wait it out and see. You can’t wait on life because if you do, it will pass you by.
Accepting that fear is a big part of living is a step closer to knowing we can overcome it. We may still feel scared but we can move forward anyway with the confidence we will be enough to figure out what’s next. Choosing to release fear along the way is an unraveling of the cloth it has laid on our life so we can begin to see a path forward too. I may not always be right on my decisions but I can be comforted in knowing I am at least right in not letting fear stop me from finding out.
Regardless of circumstance and situation, we always have a leg up on fear. It is our choice, the smallest decision we make every day that influences how large a role fear has. Owning our fear means we are choosing to accept it is a legitimate feeling but then doing things that reduce and mitigate it by taking those precious steps forward to go forward anyway.
To live naturally is to live in peace with fear. It is the balance of fear to leverage it’s positive powers. The ability of fear to give us pause and think things through, to question it from all angles and choose how we will address it is in fact a gift. Finding the deep gratitude for fear is where we can grow our strongest and emerge anew. There is honor in appreciating our own fears and using them as the gateway to better things in our life. When we do this we are harnessing fear for our growth. Suffering has a purpose and once we find it we can live without fear and with greater peace in our days.
I still get scared and afraid. There is still fear in my life. There are times when fear becomes big and I find myself reverting to that familiar uncomfortable comfort in it. That is now however a trigger for me to realize I have the ability to tap into fears positive powers to help me solve some of the biggest problems I have in my life. It no longer has to be a day-to-day survival mindset held captive by fear and instead can be my shield and sword against a challenge in front of me. It is a choice I make each day how fear will serve me.
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