Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Do one thing every day that scares you.”
As children, we didn’t need this advice, we had no fear. But as we grew older, we learned to be careful because the world is a dangerous place; at least, that’s what we were told.
Fear is a part of who we are; it is ingrained in our system and the older we get, the more we have. Many of our fears stem from events that have happened in our past, or from stories we have heard from other people, but that doesn’t mean we can’t overcome our greatest ones. Instead of letting them build up, we need to take each one out, facing them one at a time until we are free. It takes some serious effort on our part, especially to conquer the big, scary fears; but, nothing is impossible.
I’ll admit, there was a time in my life that I was plagued by fear; it would keep me up most nights. It wasn’t easy to get through either, and it took a lot of training, but I was determined to free myself from the chains of fear. I read books, took yoga classes, started to meditate, and slowly, but surely, my fears began to dissipate, and I weaned myself off of my anxiety medication.
Happier times were ahead, and I’ve never let myself slip back into the dark era; in fact, I refuse to. I have all the tools I need to live a fearless life, and that’s what I do each and everyday.
Of course, I still have some fears. I am not a fan of closed spaces or heights, but I never let those fears get in the way of something I truly want to do. Now the only real fear I have is missing out on life. I need to experience it all, which is why I go after every goal and dream I have.
I am terrified of leading a life that is ordinary; I want a life I can look back on and be proud of. Maybe, I’ve read too many Mitch Albom books, or listened to too many Lousie Hay cds. Maybe, I’ve spent too much time discovering myself. Maybe, I really believed the words of my parents when they encouraged me to follow my heart, knowing they’d support me no matter what life I chose to lead.
My fear of an ordinary life is also why I travel, that and to prove to others that the world is not a scary place. Sure, something could happen to me abroad, but it’s just as likely that something could happen at home.
Of course, there is some bad in the world, but there’s a lot more good. If we focus only on the bad that may happen when we try something new or put ourselves out there, we’ll never get anywhere. But, if we try instead to see the growth and change that can happen by facing something scary, good is bound to occur.
Still, sometimes, even while we travel, we only face the obvious fears, the small ones everyone talks about. We bungy jump, climb mountains, cuddle with wild animals, sky dive, and swim with sharks, but the fears that are most important, we often fail to face: our fears of commitment, love, happiness, heartbreak, and failure. Unfortunately, these are the fears we need to focus on because they are the ones that are most important for us to get through.
And, the way we get through them is exactly the way we get through the trivial fears. Instead of putting up a wall or running away from them, we throw ourselves out of the door of the plane into what we fear most. Because that’s the only way we are able to live our lives to the fullest extent, and with so little time here, why would you want to live it any other way?
Yes, you may get hurt. Sure, things might not work out as planned. But, if you at least try, take that first step to overcome a fear, that’s enough to show that you are willing to live a life that you can be proud of. Life is messy and complicated, but in the end, it is all worth it, and if you need any more reasons why a fear should never hold you back, look no further the the following quotes.
“You will either step forward into growth, or you will step backward into safety.” Abraham H. Maslow
“Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.” Helen Keller
“Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free.” Stephen King
“Fear is a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life.” Donald Miller
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” Dale Carnegie
“We all have goals and we all have fears about achieving them, but it’s how we handle those fears that determine whether or not — and how quickly — we get there.” Katherine Davey
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Franklin D. Roosevelt
“I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always … so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.” Yann Martel