Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. –Marianne Williamson
Fear is a strong emotion that has the ability for many of us to decide our lives at one time or another. It can be so strong that it will manifest as many other emotions such as anxiety, anger, and even depression. Fear has very strong physical ramifications too. Stuffing fear down only makes it worse and allows the fear to grow in size. Hiding from it with alcohol, drugs, food, the Internet, and many other vices is a temporary fix.
How many of us are holding our lives back because of fear? Some fear is natural and serves us very well. When I was in Afghanistan and the sirens would go off I would put on my Kevlar vest and helmet to try to stay safe. That is fear serving me well. But for many of us it is the everyday fear’s that do not serve us well. For many of us fear is the very reason we hold ourselves back. Furthermore so much of our own fear’s are self-created. It is the thoughts that we think that make us afraid. I know I am guilty of using the words should, what if, and but more then enough times in my life.
Do any of these phrases sound familiar:
I should go back to school but...
I should really try to lose some weight but....
I should really try to stick to this budget so I get my finances in order faster but...
I should travel more but...
What if it does not work out,
What if he/she decides she does not want to be with me anymore,
What if I cannot afford it,
What if I fail (my biggest one),
What will they think of me,
What if I have to give up XXX (insert alcohol, sweets, overspending, etc),
What if, What if, What if, how often do we as humans let the fear of the unknown decide our fate?
Facing my own personal fears in life has served me incredibly well and has been the launching point for becoming a better person. It has not always been easy but every time I have faced my greatest fears the rewards have been far greater.
Personally I feel my life has bottomed out more than once and fear always did its best to try to keep me there. When I was 21 all I was doing was drinking and doing drugs and my life came to screeching halt. In a matter of moments I lost my job, got kicked out of my house, was flat broke, and even considered suicide. But something in me stayed strong and I faced my fears got my act together and joined the U.S. military. I gave up everything I knew in search of a better life. Looking back on it joining the Navy saved my life. Was I scared? Absolutely, did I let fear decide my fate, Hell no.
When I realized I did not want to serve any longer in the military was I scared to get out? Absolutely. Servicemen telling me I would never make it on the outside surrounded me. I was told that there are no good jobs, that I would be giving up a good thing, many chiefs told me it was only a matter of time and I would be back. Did I buy into some of the fear? Absolutely, I was scared out of my mind but did I let fear decide my life? No, I got with my wife, developed a plan, started going to school, lined up a job before I was even out, and saved as much money as I could.
When I was deciding on going back to school was I scared? Absolutely, what if I fail, what if we do not have enough money, what if I am not sure what I want to do? These conversations constantly played out in my head. But I also had conversations with myself such as what if I do well, what if I can make it work financially, what if I find a great career that fulfills me?
When I was going through my divorce and was not sure if moving back to Minnesota was the right idea was I scared? Probably more than I have ever been in my entire life. Was I really about to give up the life I knew for the last 10 years? The night before I drove back I spent the entire night curled up on the floor crying because I was so scared. But I prayed to God for help and he wrapped me in love and light and assured me that if I face my fears it will work out in the end.
Because I have faced my fears I have traveled the world, got an excellent education, healed so many mental and physical blocks in my life, meet an amazing new woman, made incredible friends, advanced my career and been to the depths of my soul. Fear is such a powerful emotion that when confronted forced me to grow in ways that I have never believed possible. Facing fear does not mean you have to know how everything works out, in fact when I was able to let go of expectations and just follow my gut it has felt like the Universe simply laid out a path for me. Do I still get scared, almost daily. Do I let fear decide my life, hell no. I use fear as a driving force in my life.
What are you afraid of? Where are you holding yourself back?