What is fear? While the dictionary defines it as: a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc. I define it as the one thing that continually tries to keep me in a box. In other words, I look at fear as me being comfortable. Whenever I have made the choice to step out of my comfort zone (my box) and try something new, fear has tried and sometimes succeeded at crippling me.
When I was fourteen I was told I had a spirit of fear on me. At the time I had no idea what that meant. “Fear… I’m not scared of nothing,” I told myself. Because I thought the fear that was being referred to was the kind described in the dictionary, I felt invincible. Back then I had no real concept of what living with a purpose meant or what following my dreams entailed; life was easy and carefree.
Once I graduated from college my eyes started to open regarding different types of fear. When I had to join the real world I ended up working at a job that was unfulfilling; and that’s when fear started to manifest itself in me.
I started to fear that I would be at that job for the rest of my life. And with no chance of moving up within the company, I felt stuck. I developed anxiety and became fearful about almost every aspect of my life: not wanting a relationship for fear of being cheated on, not wanting kids for fear of something happening to them (this world is dangerous), and not opening up and being my true self for fear of being judged. I also feared going places because I thought something bad might happen to me.
It wasn’t until last year that I made the decision to stop living in fear. As much as I’ve heard the saying, I really had to “Let go and let God.” But I also had to do my part, which meant I needed to renew my mind and the way I thought about things. I was able to do this by thinking about why certain situations make me fearful and by reciting several quotes to myself about fear. Quotes such as:
- “Instead of focusing on my fear, I focus on the goal, the prize waiting at the end of the race.”
- “Fear is nothing more than an obstacle that stands in the way of process.”
- “The step-by-step process of preparation acts as a broom sweeping away the dust of fear and clearing the path for success.”
- “Fearlessness is about getting up one more time than we fall.”
- “Fear is how you lose your life… A little bit at a time… What we give to fear, we take away from… Faith.”
- “Fear creates a barrier that reduces the indivisibility between you and where your success stands.”
- “Fear stifles our thinking and actions. It creates indecisiveness that results in stagnation.”
- “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”
- “Make your vision so clear that your fears become irrelevant.”
- “When fearful things present themselves, one of the first questions I ask is, ‘How can I use this?’”
I’ve come a long way from that fearful person who second guessed and questioned everything. In my growth I have learned fear is a constant thing. No matter the situation, we will never be able to stop it from entering. The best way to deal with fear is to acknowledge it and not let it stop you from living your life. In addition, you have to trust that your life has a purpose. In believing this you will be able to see past the fear and see ultimately where you are going and what your life can become.
Arianna Huffington put it best in her book, On Becoming Fearless: “The answers to the questions of what to say, what to do, whom to let in, and whom to keep out become a clear and simple matter of listening to our hearts. That inner voice helps us align with our purpose, because each of us has a purpose, even if we judge it to insignificant. The voice is there. We just need to listen to it. When we do that, we live in fearlessness.”