It’s not fear that stops us from doing what we want – it’s ourselves.
There is a common belief that one of the biggest things that hold us back in life is fear, the notorious feeling of dread and uncertainty that stops us from doing the things that only our mind can dream of and our thoughts can take us. Many of us live in fear – terrified of chasing the dreams that solely exist in our minds and stepping foot on the journey that allows us to pursue these things. We are always living in fear; because we are scared of what’s on the other side of the unknown. We are scared to speak freely of our honest feelings, we are scared to leave the jobs or partners that make us miserable. We are terrified of facing the things that leave us alone, vulnerable, insecure and different. We are fearful of the things we don’t know and we are paralysed with the idea of straying away from what we do know.
But it is not fear that holds us back – it is ultimately ourselves. Fear is commonly misconceived to be the devil that we must overcome, the devil that we must banish from our thoughts because in order to achieve and conquer our goals, we must overcome our fears.
Fear is something we should acknowledge, embrace, and use as a tool and inspiration to propel ourselves into journeys that grow and excite us. Fear is a good thing, because it means that the dreams we are having are big enough to scare us into wanting to protect ourselves by turning the idea away. Our mind and our bodies want to protect us – we don’t like to chase danger and we don’t like to chase the idea of being uncomfortable. That’s where fear exists – it’s our body’s defense mechanism in wanting to live in the comfort of familiarity, but where there is no unfamiliarity, there is no growth.
The feeling of fear is not what obstructs us from moving forward. We only have ourselves to blame for that, because most of us react to fear by shutting down and running the other way. We push away the things that terrify us – we don’t want to open Pandora’s Box. We are civilians who like to live with as little conflict as possible. We rejoice in easy, simple, comfortable. We are paralysed with complexity, chaotic, disorderly things. We fear the things that bring fear, and shut off the things that attract this fear. We only have ourselves to blame because this is how our body and mind has been conditioned to respond to fear – it’s the possibility that pursuing something that terrifies us is going to throw our entire world upside down and we are not prepared for the uphill challenge of the unknown.
Fear is a catalyst – it is the instigator of all things life-changing and worth experiencing. Fear is an alarm, it is a signal that whatever we are thinking of or daring enough to pursue is going to grow and shape us in such a way that we won’t be the same person as who we are without it. In acknowledging and embracing this and challenging ourselves to do exactly that, is inevitably going to grow us, strengthen us, shape us and build us into better people. We learn by living thorough our experiences, not by how big we dream.
They say fear is what stops you from doing the things you can only dare think of. I say, fear is the fuel in your engine that gives you the power to start and sustain your journey. The only one who decides whether to stop or start – is you.