Humans feel afraid sometimes. While we may not agree on very much these days, I’m sure we can all agree on that basic fact. If you’ve walked the earth at any point, it’s inevitable you’ve come eye to eye with fear at least a few times, and for a moment your heart pounded so loud you could hear it ringing in your ears. It’s an emotion that can leave you feeling blue and seeing red in an instant. It can awaken your most vulnerable self in ways that give you shivers – not the good kind. Fear can throw your self-control off balance and leave you feeling like a baby attempting to walk in 6-inch heels – wobbly at best, a fast hard meeting with the floor at worst.
The thing that makes fear so unique is just how personal it is. Like the best gadgets in our life, it comes in all shapes and sizes, different colours and targets various areas of our lives. They say one man’s trash is another’s treasure and I believe that applies to things that scare us too. My fear of cockroaches may be completely laughable to one who collects them in a box and calls them their comfort animal. I’ll never get it and they won’t fully understand me either.
Like trash, there’s enough fear to go around. I mean, we live in a crazy world. You only have to turn a corner to find the scariest things among us laying around on the streets – or just literal trash.
There are no limits to the things that make us feel fear down to our bones. The truth is there’s something to fear everywhere. For some, it’s the fear of heights or talking to strangers at a living room party. For others, it’s more too. Fear of making the first move or taking the next step. Leaving the house or fear of unseen danger lurking around the corner. Boming a critical exam or losing face in front of someone you’re dying to impress. Then there’s fear of the unknown and fear of rejection and fear of failure.
There’s nothing worse than the feeling of fear that lingers around too long. You try to shake it off, but even with your best moves, it doesn’t fall off. It stains you like red wine on a new carpet, and incessant scrubbing doesn’t do the trick at all.
Sometimes it lingers so long it keeps you stuck in one place. It chains you to the floor and binds you to your ghosts. Fear can have you feeling like you’re drowning in quicksand – fast and faster below, the more you try to free your feet.
When you feel crippled by fear it’s inevitable to think you may never get out of that cycle. The hardest part is figuring out where to start and which direction leads forward. Start with these tips:
Acknowledge Your Fear.
See it. Feel it. Accept it.
Before you can leave a muddy situation; you first have to accept the reality that you’re currently sat in the mud. It’s not pretty down there, and you’ve certainly looked your best under different circumstances and better lightning. But seeing your fear for what it is puts you one step closer to fearing less. See it in the ways it affects your day-to-day. Feel it with every wrong emotion it feeds you. Accept it for what it is. You’ll be by no means fearless, but you’ll be fully aware, and that is the first step to shaking off the ghost.
It’s okay to be naked sometimes.
Fear leaves you in the most vulnerable state of mind you could possibly be in. It’s the ultimate state of panic where the only things on your mind are the chances of finding shelter or a saviour. And when you’re not thinking about that you’re thinking about the fear itself.
But that’s the thing; although you can’t always keep it all together, sometimes you have to save yourself. The situation you find yourself in may leave you feeling naked and vulnerable. All you may want to do is hide away, but to face your fears you have to embrace that feeling of nakedness. It’s okay to be naked sometimes as it allows you to see yourself clearly again. You get to reconnect with yourself again or on a deeper level. By embracing vulnerability, you are opening yourself up to the possibilities that lie within and ahead.
Break It Down.
Piece by piece. Step by step. Little by little.
This is the part of the process where you slow down and make a game plan. If you try to build a house of cards in a hurry it crumbles just as fast. If you try to steady your life whilst everything around you shakes, chances are you won’t get a good grip on what really matters.
Likewise, to be able to get on the opposite side of fear, you must get to a point where you can stand firm and make a good plan. Piece by piece you conjure it up in your mind. Step by step you make it concrete by setting it in stone with ink. Little by little you walk towards your goal at a pace you can keep up with.
It won’t be easy, but it sure will be worth it on the other side.
Surround Yourself With The Good Ones.
Keep them close. Keep them near.
Much of how we feel about ourselves has to do with the company we keep. Whilst believing in yourself is the most commendable trait, oftentimes you become crippled with fear when you’ve forgotten how to.
It’s in these times the company you keep really matters. Call me ‘old school’ but I really believe in the saying that goes; “show me your friends, and I’ll show you who you are”. The company you keep can be a true reflection of who you are.
When fear sits beside you like a nosy stranger, it’s a true friend that will know just when and how to butt in. They’ll be genuine and honest, and you’ll know they want the best for you.
A good friend who’ll listen to your many thoughts. A wise mentor who’ll remind you of other ways to get to your goal. Or a kind family member who will remind you why you started. Keep them close because they may help redirect your steps in the right direction. Keep them near because they may remind you of the way back to yourself.
Start While You Fear.
To fear is to be human. To fail is to be human. To fall is to be human.
Remember this: everyone feels fear. You’re not special in that sense, and whilst that’s a hard truth to swallow, it is one you may choose to take comfort in. The only ones that make it to the other side are those who choose to not let fear be the only thing they win at.
Being able to start when you are afraid requires you to work the muscle of courage each time fear bursts through the door.
Know that to fear is to be human. To fail is to be human. And to fall is to be human. A baby step in the right direction is better than no steps at all. The stars don’t have to align perfectly for you before you make your first move. Sometimes you have to draw them yourself, cut them into shape and set them in place right where you want them.
Remember who you’re doing it all for. Future you will be glad you did it anyways.
Your restless romantic roamer