“How can you fight an enemy that doesn’t fight fair?
How can you fight what you’re not sure is there?
How does one fight hallucinations, fight shadows and sounds?”
Everyone gets scared.
It becomes a different thing altogether, though, when your fear stops you from living, from being, or worse still, when your fear holds you captive within yourself.
You’re a free person, walking around, making choices, “adulting” and whatnot. But you’re trapped. Inside your own mind. You’re a hostage.
The worst part is, everyone who sees you, having no real idea what’s going on, thinks you have a choice- and to some degree, you think so too.
I’d argue that to some degree, you do have a choice– but I’ll come back to that later on.
How can I stop being afraid so I can get on with my life? You ask yourself.
I want to be as awesome in real life as I have pictured in my mind.
I want to help people. I want to make things, do things, go places. I want to see and be seen, to hear and be heard.
The truth is, beating fear is as hard as it sounds. We not only have to deal with fear, but the fear of fear itself. It sounds like a formidable task- but that’s only because it is.
Coming from a religious backgound, it wouldn’t be uncommon to hear people say,
“to have fear is to lack faith”.
But what if that, in itself, is yet another thing you’re afraid of? Not having “enough faith”.
What does that mean exactly? How can one quantify faith?
The truth is that you can’t.
Believing that “not having enough faith will destroy you”, could actually destroy you.
As controversial as it may sound, I believe that having faith full stop, of any size, is enough. The idea isn’t to move mountains overnight. The plan is to continue seeking that faith, and seeing its growth to continue seeing change. Just Don’t. Lose. Faith.
But… What. Does. That. Even. Mean?
Faith doesn’t mean you have to be impervious to fear, or that you have to be invincible (side note: no one is invincible). The difference between the one who is stopped by their fear and one who keeps going, is that while the first sees their fear as a wall, the second takes their fear along with them and climbs the wall. The second has a difficult task, but the task gets done!
Get RID of that harmful belief that feeling fear is a weakness, and that you are any less worthy of the life you want because you feel it.
Now here’s where that element of choice that I mentioned earlier comes in.
Start by being honest with yourself:
“I am afraid that if I a-b-c, x-y-z will happen.“
Make a change to this old thinking habit. Now, (unlike usual) you say:
“I am afraid that if I a-b-c, x-y-z will happen. BUT– I am going to do it anyway.”
Then put in place some PRACTICAL steps for yourself- what happens if “x-y-z” does happen? Then what?
“At the very worst, x-y-and-z will happen. Then, I’ll just d-e-and-f.”
The worst-case scenario would be that what you feared happens. However, this isn’t anything different from what you anticipated, and prepared yourself for, is it?
So you know exactly how to get back up on your feet and keep going.
You need to get practice doing things in spite of your fear. Remember:
- What is the worst-worst-worst thing that could happen if you did this thing you wanted to do?
- What will you do if that happens?
- “Do the thing”.
- See what happens.
- Did “the worst-worst-worst” case scenario come true? Oh well. You were ready for that.
- Oh, wait, it didn’t? Well, I belive you can count that as a win!
Document this journey. Start with small things and keep going. Before you know it, you will be doing things you never would’ve dared to try before.
The “brave” are not people who do not have or feel fear. They are people, like you or me, who in spite oftheir fear, keep going.
You can be strong even while afraid:
Not by making excuses for not doing things and telling yourself you have “owned your fear”, and now you “accept that you’re afraid”.
Not by cowering in a corner and telling yourself “I’m different from others so I can’t,”
But by “Just doing the thing”, even if you’re afraid. 😊