The Problem of Fear
With the uncertainty of the past year, there has been an increase of fear and anxiety. Our sense of security has been shaken, and our ‘normal’ has been turned upside down. So how do we overcome fear when we have no control over what’s happening in the world? It starts by being willing to face the fear in our own hearts. We all struggle with fear to some extent, whether we admit it or not. For me, fear has been too formidable to ignore, but I have found the path to freedom is daily choosing to unfollow fear.
My History with Fear
As a child I was extremely introverted and shy. At school, oral presentations in front of the class were a nightmare, and even putting up my hand to ask a question or give an answer was a challenge. Though I sang in the church choir, I was so afraid of singing in front of people that made sure to sing quietly enough that the people singing next to me couldn’t hear. When I was 15, I even avoided auditioning for a musical by hiding under a pew! 😂
Coping with Fear
With so many fears, I had to find ways to cope. For many years my way of coping was to avoid the things I feared as much as possible. At school and in public I tried to stay as invisible. I tried hard to please people and to perform. Perfectionism was my MO. It was only in my teen and adult years that I realized that all the ways that I was avoiding fear only served to make it stronger.
Breaking Free from Fear
One of the most powerful revelations I have had in my life is that when I avoid fear, I’m actually obeying it. Once I realized that by avoiding my fear I was giving it power over me, I made it my mission to unfollow fear. I began to face my fears, and not allow fear to dictate my beliefs or actions.
Along the journey to freedom, I’ve realized that I’m never going to be fearless. But freedom isn’t about what I feel. Freedom is found when I choose to unfollow fear. Instead of trying to escape the emotion of fear, I began to step into it. I began to risk in small ways, and doing what I wanted to do in spite of fear. Sometimes, I’ve even made myself do things just because I was afraid. The more I unfollow fear, the smaller fear’s influence on me becomes. I don’t let fear define me.
Today I have enough years of unfollowing fear to see how far I’ve come. I never would have imagined being able to sing in front of people, or record a song and allow the public to hear it. I didn’t even know I had that potential. Fear is still lurking in my life, and I try not to judge or compare myself with others, but instead I celebrate the small victories. The courage to release a song this year was a result of many years of small choices that loosened fear’s grip on my life. And if I can do it, you can too!
Courage over Comfort
Fear promises me a “safe” life, if I will stay within its boundaries. If I continue to do things right, I’ll be safe from failure. If I stay as invisible as possible, I’ll be safe from humiliation. And if I make decisions based on pleasing everyone else, I’ll be safe from rejection and criticism.
What about you? Where do you need to choose courage over comfort? What fears are dictating your choices, and what are they keeping you from experiencing?
It is so appealing to stay safe and comfortable – but is that truly living? I don’t know about you, but I want to live a life of passion and adventure. Let’s walk together and dare to unfollow fear.