In this blog post I will talk about fear. Fear is such a sensitive subject for me, because in the past year I let fear control most of my actions and I realized that I missed out of so many things, because I was afraid. And to be honest I hate it. Probably because I can’t control it.
You know what is the problem with fear? Once you let it near you, it takes control over your life. And I know it because I have lived it. Fear comes in so many shapes and so many colors, that sometimes you can’t even recognize it. It can be masked by so many things, especially the lies you tell yourself to compensate for the lack of courage.
I tried to remember the first time fear froze me. I was in Italy with my father when I was around twelve years old, if I remember correctly. We were at Gardaland (it’s a themed park in Italy resembling Disneyland) and we were waiting in line to go on the mountain rousse ride. I remember that when we were ready to get in, I stayed there for a few seconds, staring, without saying a world and a million of awful images went through my head. Then I ran away, because I got so frightened of the height and speed of the carousel. That is the first memory I have with being completely frozen by fear.
My fears are simple, not special. Some of them influence my life in a major way, some of them don’t. But they are there, and when I try to make a decision they own me, they make me take steps back. Sometimes, they own me when I am doing something and it results of failing. Sometimes they keep me from chasing the things I want most.
Death – I am afraid of dying young. I want to live my life and reach an certain age where I can look back and I can say: I lived and I accomplished so much. I want to have kids and grandchildren. I want to have a long career where I was able to do my best to help people. I want to make a difference, to make my contribution to the development of the community. And when I look around me, there are all kinds of unfortunate accidents. It frightens me. The funny thing is I almost died once. When I was six years old, I almost drowned. I remember that in the last second, after my life flashed before my eyes I said to myself “This is it, I am going to die.”. In that moment I accepted my faith and I was ready to die. I stopped trying to swim and I just let go. And in that moment, my father lifted me up form the water. If that would have happened to me now, I would probably not go into the water anymore. But the next year from that incident, I learned how to swim and I love water more than anything in the world. That was a moment when I didn’t let fear take control of my life.
Not being good enough – I always want to please people. I am scared to death of not being good enough, of not fulfilling somebody’s expectations. And it eats me alive. It took me a long time to realize that the only person I have to be good enough for is myself. I am not fighting for others, I am fighting for my own dreams and my own life. I am still struggling with this fear, but I always try to ask myself “What do you want? What is your belief about this? Are you proud of yourself?”. And every time the idea of what other people would think about a certain thing pop into my head, I try to block it and focus on myself, on what I am feeling. The fear is there, but I am trying to fight it. In the past year, I can say that I tried to do as I wish, what I feel, no matter what others say. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But it’s a start.
Not speaking up – I used to be somebody who would speak up her mind. If something bothered me, I didn’t care who I was talking to, I was telling what I was thinking. I got in fights with teachers, colleagues, friends because of telling what’s on my mind. And I knew I was right. Over time, I started being afraid of the consequences. But this lead to not being myself. Probably this is being related with my fears of not being good enough and losing people. But lately I tried to be sincere, I tried to say what I think, even if I knew it would bother some people. I trust my instincts and my moral compass. I trust myself for doing the right thing. And yet, at some point I started being afraid. I try to speak my mind as often as I can and I am aware of the fact that I might lose people over this, but it’s a price I am willing to pay for staying true to myself.
Exams – I don’t know what’s up with me with exams, interviews and public speaking. I get frozen and I always mess up. I guess, this fear comes from lack of confidence in myself. As I mentioned before, I had my driving exam on June 6th. I was so afraid and so scared of the exam, that I failed big time. I went into the wrong direction, I was completely unable of controlling the car, I was not paying attention to what I had to do. The only thing that was running through my mind was that “I was going to fail”. And I did. After that I was so angry at myself.I knew I was ready, I knew what I had to do and I didn’t believe in myself. I promised myself that the next time I will not let fear control me. I rescheduled on July 18th. The day before, I wrote down what I have to do before each maneuver and I acknowledged the fact that I am ready. I promised that I will focus on what I have to do and not on the fact that it’s a possibility to fail. The pressure was higher, because they changed the legislation at the beginning of July, making the exam harder, but I knew I could do it. And I did. I focused so hard on driving, and I tried to free my mind of my doubts. I even had two situations where I didn’t knew what I have to do, but I just followed my instincts and it was fine. I managed to get my driver’s licence and I was so proud of myself for being able to keep fear from clouding my judgement. In the past year, this is my biggest achievement. This experience taught me, that everybody is afraid, nobody is perfect and that you have to believe in yourself. Faith is stronger than fear.
Decisions – When I need to take decisions, I am the worst. I am scared of the outcome and I hate taking risks. Even though I want something so bad, I stumble, I over analyze the situation and end up loosing opportunities. The problem is that I want things, but I am cared to go after them. I am scared of the fact that I am going to do a mistake. Then I back out. In the end I regret it. This happened me recently and I am so angry at myself. Because I have to stop this. I have to start taking chances, even if the outcome will not always be the one I imagine. I have made so many mistakes and wrong decisions in my life and there is not one that I regret. Because they gave me some valuable life lessons, they made me who I am today. So from now on I will try tell myself this “Do you want it? Good. Then go for it and if it doesn’t go as planned, then we will deal with it.”
Fear can be good sometimes. It’s a paradox how fear can wake you up after it took control over you. Fear is such a strong feeling, and if we don’t learn to take decisions despite it, we will never accomplish anything valuable in life. Personally, I am tired of fear. I am tired of not doing certain things because I am afraid of what might happen. It limits me, it makes me forget what is important, it makes me doubting myself. And I know I am capable of many things, I know how many great things I can achieve. Now I know how to fight it: with hope and faith. These are the only two feelings I know that can make the fear go away. I know it will take time, but I believe that one day, I will start doing things despite what my fears tell me.
Don’t forget to check out the store offers. I decided to keep them up until September 1st. Also I wrote a document called 22 things my anxiety taught me. Check it out <3. Here are some questions for you, that I hope you will enjoy answering:
1. What are you afraid of?
2. How do you overcome your fears?
3. What is the one thing you would do if you weren’t afraid?