My instinctual reaction to fear is to escape from it any way I can. I will easily block things from my memory (not always a good thing), escape into television and movie marathons, or create a fear barrier of sweatpants, blankets, and chocolate.
I’ve had a constant battle with fear and anxiety for many years of my life. Most notably:
- Fear of telling anyone about my addiction
- Fear of never being good enough
- Fear about losing my career, changing careers, and starting a new life in Chicago
For me, my fears revolve around failure, being realized as an imperfect person (hint: we all are), and the unknown. For every fear that I’ve challenged, however, I’ve survived and learned an important lesson about myself. Fear has been the biggest thing that has held me back from where I want to go and there simply comes a day when you need to decide what course you’re going to take. As difficult as it can be, learning to embrace your fear is one of the most important things you can do.
Here are my three reasons to embrace your fear.
1. It means you’re moving towards a goal
Is there something you would love to do but have been been afraid to take that first step? Are you thinking about changing careers or tackling something big like running a marathon? When fear arises, it’s because you are considering something new to you. You’re about to embark on a journey where you don’t know the outcome for certain. Fear often accompanies change. It’s easy to live a complacent life where you know the results, but take some time to ask yourself if you are truly content and challenged in a life like this.
The biggest accomplishments in my life have come with a whole truckload of fear dumped on me. It’s anxiety-provoking to continue taking those steps, but I’ve learned through past experience that if there’s fear involved, I’m probably moving in the right direction.
2. You’re taking responsibility for your own life
Your fears are simply that—yours. You can use any number of things to convince yourself that you can stay still, and many of those are external. It’s much easier to decide that you can’t do something because of someone or something outside yourself than to actually admit that you’re standing still because of you.
By embracing your fears, YOU are making the decision to take care of yourself and that you are worthy of taking a risk. It allows you to feel like a more complete person who is capable of taking responsibility for your own life.
3. It will bring you confidence (or an important lesson)
Knowing that you have deliberately faced your fears head on and conquered a goal or dream is an incredible feeling. You realize that you are capable of achieving more than you gave yourself credit for, which in turn can spark other goals or ideas. With each step that you take, you become a stronger person.
Being able to embrace your fear doesn’t always lead to a success. A start-up business could fail, you may be denied a promotion you applied for, or you may fall short of an exercise goal you set for yourself. Whatever you do, try not to let fear rule your life again. Take what has happened as a learning experience and see how you can improve on those goals in the future. Failure does not mean you fail as a person, you simply need to find the lesson to be learned and give yourself a serious pat on the back for trying at all.
- How much impact does fear have in your life?
- Do you view fear as a positive or a negative?
Thanks to Amanda for letting me think out loud.