Sometimes you just have to hit refresh on your life. Sometimes you get blocked, you get stuck, you hit a wall. That’s okay. It’s a part of being human. Right now, in my life, I’m doing a tap dance on that refresh button. I’m going through some big changes, and some subtle shifts, and step by step I’m finding my way back to who I really am.
Within all of that, I’ve been thinking a lot about the aspects of my life that hold me back from being the truest version of myself, from living my dreams, and from stepping out of my comfort zone. It’s fear. It’s fear that holds us back. It grasps us, clutching with its greedy talons, to prevent us from striving, and climbing, and really living. Fear is tricky; it sneaks up on us, and manifests itself in so many different ways.
I want to get a handle on my fear. I want to know when it’s present, and I want to know what it looks like. I want to know its triggers and symptoms. I want to know fear’s name, the colour of its eyes, the sound of its laugh. I want to get cozy with my fear. I want to be grateful for it, and even to forgive it. I want to know my fear intimately so I can choose to push through and see love instead. And I think the first step in that, is getting real with what my fears are. So hello world, meet my fears.
I am afraid of:
– being alone and not feeling loved or valued
– not being good enough; not doing well enough; not being as talented or as smart or as fit or as thin or as strong as others; not living up to all of my own and society’s expectations
– being out of control in a situation
– the unknown
– regretting the decisions I make
– financial insecurity
– being vulnerable and imperfect
– judgment of others
It’s a lot. There’s a lot. And I know so many of us carry this burden. It looks different for each and every one of us, but it’s a lot to carry and to hold regardless. I spent some time listening and watching my fears, and trying to understand what experiences and thoughts trigger them. I observed how I feel when I’m living in fear, and above all, how those fears affect my actions and in turn my happiness and my relationships. And it got scary. I started fearing fear itself.
But along this journey, I’m committed to looking at every single fear and learning to see love instead. And that takes a couple of steps.
First, gratitude. I’m learning to be grateful for all of my fears. It’s hard, but it’s helping me to reframe everything. As an example, here are a couple of reasons I’m grateful for my fears:
– I’m grateful for my fear of being alone. It has helped me to try to take special measures to really care for myself when I am alone and cherish that time. It has helped me to actively seek and build some truly amazing friendships.
– I’m grateful for my fear of not being good enough. It shines a light on the pieces of myself that I struggle with, and has allowed me to notice and cherish those pieces more and grow to love them and accept them. It has also allowed me to begin to recognize and hold up all the ways other people around me are enough as well.
While this reframing has begun to dramatically shift the way I think about my fears, I noticed there was still something missing. I still resented these fears, and in turn, pieces of myself. And so I realized that I also needed to forgive myself for having these fears. One at a time, every single one. Because after all, I am only human, and it’s okay to be scared. So I took the time to lay out all of my fears on a page once more, and slowly am working to honour them and forgive them.
Now, when a fear or a judgment comes up for me, I try to forgive myself immediately, thank that fear for whatever it brought up inside of me that I might not otherwise have been aware of, and choose a loving perspective instead.
Every day we make choices. We choose fear over love, or love over fear. But there is always a choice. You can act out of fear: fear that you’re not good enough, you’re small, you’ll fail. You can react out of fear: with judgment, comparisons, and expectations. Or you can act out of love, knowing that right now, as you are, you are enough, and believing in your own power.
I’m trying. I’m trying really hard to walk the path of the latter. And I’ll fall. Every single day. And the voice of fear in me will say, “Don’t even bother getting back up. You’re not good enough. You’ll only fail again. You’re out of control. You’re alone”. And I’ll do all that I can to choose love, to choose gratitude, to choose forgiveness and say:
I am good enough. I might fail, but it’ll be worth it. I might feel out of control, but I’ll be empowered to create and be whoever I want to be. And when I feel alone, I can ask for support, from others, and from within myself. Because love is on my side. And I’m okay.