This has been something I’ve seriously grappled with over the past few months. To me, fear has always been this intangible that I believed was necessary for keeping me safe, staying sharp, and making good decisions. But recently, I realized that if I had lived with my fears from years ago, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
This is not to say that fear isn’t valid. Your fears, like your entire perception of your reality, are as genuine and valuable as your view of the world around you. I say valuable because without them, you’d be blindly doing 130k on the highway of life and potentially missing the neon signs of what you really want. Sometimes it’s the things that you want more than anything that really scare you.
Yes, fear can keep you safe. But it can also get you stuck. With the alternative to incredible, terrifying change being a life of stagnation and complacency, wouldn’t you rather say to hell with your fears and get on with the adventure?
When I think about the meaning of fear and having courage to move beyond it, I first think of my parents. As 20-somethings, they made what I’m sure was the terrifying decision to move their little unit, complete with little girls aged 7 and 3, to West Africa. They took a leap, one that led to 7 years of moving around and traveling abroad. And although I cannot speak to whether that decision brought them everything that they wanted, I do know that I can’t imagine what my childhood would’ve looked like, or the person I’d be, if they hadn’t pushed the limits of fear. That decision changed everything for our family, and I’m thankful for it everyday.
Often I think of the decisions I made senior year. Deciding against going to the same university as my high school sweetheart, moving to a city that I had never visited, all to pursue a dream that I was really unsure of. How would I pay for it? When would I see my family? Why did I feel this need to make my life more difficult than it needed to be? But Within a year, I realized that everything I had been longing for had been on the other side of fear. I did everything I set out to do, I got to know myself and the only reason I can say that is because I didn’t let fear stop me.
If your fears are keeping you from living your best life, I challenge you to let some of them go this week. Seriously entertain the idea of what your reality would look like if those fears didn’t exist. Whether its fear of what people will think, or of letting your loved ones down, or a fear of making colossal mistakes, I challenge you to imagine who you’d be if they didn’t matter anymore. Have gratitude for blessings that have yet to manifest themselves in your life, choose faith in yourself over your fears, and most of all, remember to enjoy it. Breath deeply and live gratefully, and know that everything you want is on the other side of the unknown.