Perhaps the biggest tragedy of our lives is that freedom is possible, yet we can pass our years trapped in the same old patterns…We may want to love other people without holding back, to feel authentic, to breathe in the beauty around us, to dance and sing. Yet each day we listen to inner voices that keep our life small.
I don’t believe there’s a way to write a post teaching someone how to stop being afraid. It’s simply a decision you have to make in your own mind. Every time you feel that nervous, uncomfortable feeling in your stomach – push forward and take a leap of faith.
If I look at my life, the things I feared becoming the most are what I have become. Fear turned me into a person I hated. Someone who regretted the past and wished they could have done things differently. I allowed my fears to consume me, making my fears reality due to my behavior. It’s as if I willed them into existence by focusing so much of my attention on those negative outcomes.
My biggest fear in life was turning out like my father. An unhappy, angry, poorly adjusted man who was stuck in his past. He didn’t know how to have deep, meaningful relationships, even with his own son. His limited financial success only came through illegal means.
This is exactly who I became for many years. I was so afraid of following in his footsteps that I became someone much like him.
I’ve destroyed my intimate relationships and pushed those who loved me away because I feared hurting them. Ultimately, I ended up hurting them worse because I was afraid to hurt them. I never allowed myself to be happy and comfortable in my relationships. I felt nothing could possibly last. I was certain I would ruin it at some point.
Once someone got too close I felt the need to sabotage the relationship. Only to later realize what I did and try to reclaim what I destroyed to no avail. The guilt and shame I felt kept me coming back repeatedly trying to fix the past. Each attempt making the situation worse and more painful.
I squandered away more money than I care to think about waiting for financial opportunities to present themselves rather than seeking them out. I feared losing the nest egg I accumulated by taking chances on businesses or venturing back into the job market. I didn’t believe in myself or my skills when it came to making money in the legitimate world. I was afraid of the time, money and hard work recreating my career would entail, which caused me to waste large amounts of time and money.
Whatever I feared losing became what I lost.
I lacked faith, which is the opposite of fear. That’s the key in my opinion, having more faith than fear in the unknown. It’s simple, but not easy. Everyone at some point allows fear to keep them from doing something they want to do. Even the most daring person can’t always face their fears.
The more often I’m willing to take action and do what I fear, the more confidence I build in myself, regardless of the outcome. Willingness is 90% of the battle. People are unwilling because they are afraid and afraid because they are unwilling. When I focus too heavily on the outcome instead of the process and my willingness I rarely attempt going outside of my comfort zone.
Make your fear work for you. Fear what will happen if you aren’t willing to go after what you want and deserve in life. Focus on the negative consequences of not taking action.
Our brains are wired to want to receive pleasure and push away pain. Do you want to keep looking back and saying, “If I had only done this X years ago, where would my life be?” I can’t think of a more horrible feeling than regret for what I didn’t do.
Be curious and brave. Start small and work your way up to facing your larger fears. Find confidence in taking action rather than getting the exact outcome you hoped for. Celebrate little victories and keep building upon them. Turn fear into fuel by focusing on the opportunities you will miss if you don’t chase your goals and ambitions.