How I Gave Up Fear
Living in fear is one of the ways we stay locked into a life that doesn't serve us.
When I look over my life, it is sometimes hard for me to believe how long I lived in fear and even more difficult for me to understand why I stayed stuck for so long.
Let me first say that I am not talking about healthy fears. It is natural for people to be afraid of things that can cause significant harm or threaten their lives. But most of the fear manifested in our lives is not of this kind.
Most of us are afraid to admit how much fear we allow ourselves to drive us. We pretend to be tough and brave. We act as if we don't care.
Underneath that "I don't give a d@&" exterior is fear - lingering below the surface and manifesting itself as anger and control.
We choose to stay in the wrong relationships because we fear being alone.
We stay stuck in jobs that we hate because we fear trusting ourselves and stepping outside of our comfort zones.
We overgive in relationships because we fear people will walk away from us if we don't.
We pretend to be who we are not (and often who we don't want to be) for fear that people will reject us if we reveal who we are.
We attempt to control and manipulate people to give us what we want because we are afraid to ask for it.
And at some point, we begin to accept that "this is just the way things are."
But the way things are in your life right now is not the way that they always have to be.
If you want to know if you are stuck, check out these 19 reasons from Inc.
Compliments of Inc.
Which ones resonate with you?
I believe that I have given in to all of them at some point in my life.
When I became a teen Mom, the fear of failing and losing control gripped me tight. It shook my confidence in me. Have you ever made a series of bad decisions that lead you to a dead end road?
Navigating out of that sinkhole required me to get clear on my "why." My why became the little faces that I looked at every day. They were depending on me. So I looked my fears in the face and said "Not today. This circumstance won't win." I decided that failure was not an option.
I "burned my boats." Burning boats is a reference to the Spanish Conquistador Hernan Cortes who upon reaching the shores of the New World told his men to burn the boats after unloading them. He then declared that the only option now was to move forward and win.
That's what I did. I decided that I was going for my "New World" and I burned all of the ships keeping me held to my past.
Well, I didn't burn all of them at 19. But over the years, one by one, I have learned how to face my fears and burn the boats.
I love the story of King David in the Bible. Before he became King, he was a shepherd - one of the lowliest positions you could hold at the time. His father ordered him to take lunch to his brothers who were at war. When David showed up on the battlefield, what he saw angered him. Soldiers were hiding out in tents while a giant stood in the valley below threatening them. And it had been like this for weeks.
David did not have the skills to fight a trained warrior. And he did not have the qualifications to enter the battle - he was not a soldier. What David had was the same thing that Hernan Cortes had. He was willing to face FEAR in the face not knowing for sure the outcome.
Fear is what is keeping you stuck. You refuse to face your fear and step into the unknown.
If you are living your life always betting on the "sure thing," I submit to you that it is because you have not learned to face your fear - and give it up.
My long climb out of poverty has caused me to face many of my fears. Each time that I made this clear decision - the same decision that Cortes and David made - the decision to face my fears, my life always changed for the better.
I must warn you though that it is a tough journey. But this one thing I know: you are strong enough and wise enough to handle it.
So I encourage you today to step into your fear. Lean into it. Face it. Figure out the "why" that will fuel you forward. And don't look back.
But look to the side. I am right there cheering for you.