Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thoughts On Fear

If 2013 was a challenging year in terms of learning experiences and deep self-awareness, 2014 is a challenging year in terms of putting it all into practice. It is always really scary for me to come out of my comfort zone, and it is a big source of anxiety, but I gotta do it.

I know fear is unhealthy. I know fear is what stops us from developing our full potential and actually discover what we are really capable of. I think fear is a great obstacle for learning, as mistakes are the experiences that teach you the most. That is the rational part of my brain talking.

Then there's the part of my brain that is just a jerk. It fills me with insecurities. Over the years, it has told me that I am not smart enough, not pretty enough, not thin enough and not capable enough. Sometimes I have listened to it. Other times I have stepped up and given it the finger.

Thanks to overcoming my fears, I have lost a lot. I have lost money, like the time we moved away thinking it was best when it really wasn't. But most importantly, I have lost many barriers that would have stopped me from accomplishing what I have so far. And thanks to overcoming my fears, I have gained confidence, new skills, perspective and pride in myself. Oh and if it wasn't enough, thanks to the time I overcame fear and moved to a country far, far away where I didn't know a single soul, I gained my now husband and a gorgeous toddler.

Don't get me wrong: I feel afraid. Pretty often, actually. I wonder if I am making the right choices in life. I second-guess my parenting all the time. I am afraid of making a big decision and then regretting it a second later. For example, last year I was freaking out on my first day at my job, because my mom is actually my boss and I was terrified of doing a crappy job and letting her down. Life is scary. So many things can happen that can turn it upside down.

But I keep taking risks regardless, and telling the jerk in my brain to STFU. It makes life more interesting, and I'd much rather live an interesting life than a safe one. It is brave to do something risky. It is brave to stand up after falling and say "I will try again tomorrow". That's where the greatest things in life happen. Life has big and little mistakes. It has ups and downs. We just better make sure not to miss the "ups" by wallowing in the "downs".

I remember in 2005 I was the valedictorian for my High School graduation. I read my speech and finished with a quote by Robert Frost that has stuck with me ever since, and it is one that I keep going back to when times are hard: "In three words I can sum up everything I have learned about life: it goes on." So much wisdom in those three little words! No matter how badly you screw up, life will go on. Tomorrow will come. Let it find you ready to take on the world, to take a new risk, to start what you have always wanted to do (perhaps apply for a new job? ask for a promotion? book that holiday? ditch that toxic friend?).

Your 90 year old self will thank you for it.

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  1. Good for you! I admit I still struggle with this, more than I'd like, but am trying not to let fear get the best of me. I'll have to keep that quote in mind next time I'm struggling with a decision.

    1. Hi Holly! I'm glad you like the quote. Since the first time I read it, I thought it was so true. Things that get us so worked up today, probably won't matter at all a year from now. Good luck, and please stay in touch :)


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