Tackling fear is a tough one, but It’s too important not to cover in a motivational post.
I am afraid. I am afraid of waking up and facing the world. I am afraid of the work I have to do today, and the people I have to interact with. I am afraid of driving in traffic. I am afraid of being tired and not having the energy to keep the life I have, because I am afraid of losing it. I am afraid of the past because of the hurt I’ve felt. I am afraid of the present because I worry I will never fix it. I am afraid of the future because of the pain I will have to endure someday. I am afraid of losing those I love, either by drifting apart from them, or losing them to death’s cold grip later on. I am afraid to make decisions. I am afraid of the consequences of making them, and the consequences of not making them. I am afraid of change, of failure, and of trying new things. I am afraid of being stuck living the same monotonous life day after day, never realizing my dreams. I am afraid I will never be able to fulfil my promises, and will let everyone down. I am afraid of death, and I am afraid that after I die, I will be forgotten.
But as far as I can tell, nothing I am afraid of has killed me…yet. It seems I am still alive. It must have some benefit. Even though I am afraid, it seems fear can be good. When I see a big, vicious looking dog it makes me wary. When I see a cliff, my fear keeps me from jumping off. When I boil water it makes me careful and cautious. I know that when I face a fear and survive, I feel exhilarated. That big dog I was afraid of could actually be friendly and loveable. The cliff could be the first drop of a giant roller coaster ride on a gorgeous sunny day. The water I boil makes a delicious cup of coffee.
Within ourselves we can feel the deepest fear and despair, while hiding it from the outside world. We carry it on the backs of our soul, like a heavy burden, sometimes tugging us as we step forward, other times strangling us and taking our breath away. It is a deep-seeded emotion that we all experience, yet we hide it within ourselves, not wanting to expose it to anyone else, believing it to be a mortal weakness that no one should see.
The ironic part is that by suppressing this fear we are losing a strong ability to connect with each other on an emotional level. What brings people together more than anything is not agreeable opinions, or mutual kindness, it is a shared emotional reaction. It is the knowledge that you are afraid, and so am I, but by sharing our fear is loses its power over us. This is why people come together in ways that seem illogical from the outside, and why people will do things they thought they would never do.
It’s okay to let it overcome you once in a while, because it will remind you that you are human. You are carrying the hopes and dreams of a thousand generations before you, conditioned by their experiences, kept alive by their caution. Their fear has driven their ingenuity and helped them find ways to make their world safer, for their children, their grandchildren, all the way to you. We now live in a world that is far safer than at any time in human history, and it is still changing, becoming a better and safer world for us all.
And so I promise you, its okay to be afraid. It’s okay to be vulnerable. Fear is a basic human emotion and it is one that you should not be ashamed of. Only by accepting it, can you gain power over it. Only by embracing it, can you use the energy it provides. Only by understanding it, can you control it.
I sometimes wonder if the purpose of life is to overcome our fear of death. To live and enjoy and understand the world, so that one day we can say that even though we were afraid, it didn’t stop us from experiencing the infinite possibilities of this world. Only then can we stare death in the face and welcome it, rather than hide from it.
I am very interested in feedback on this post, since I spent a week editing it, changing it, and scrutinizing it. Thanks for reading.