I’m starting to really challenge the thought that people are truly fearless. Or if being fearless is something to strive for.
I’ve been running from fear for a long time. My anxiety is fueled by all kinds of fears.
We are taught at a young age to run away from or avoid the things that make us afraid. In some circumstances, this is appropriate.
If we approach a large bear in the forest, we should feel fear and we should run away. We should also be afraid of things like our house catching on fire. Therefore, we should avoid leaving the oven on while we are not at home. These things are natural and appropriate. Our fear serves us well.
However, I find myself applying this approach to fear in situations that are not serving me so well. I am afraid of rejection, so I often avoid social situation that could actually provide nurture and friendship. I am afraid of embarrassment, so I often avoid saying vulnerable things aloud, potentially missing out on encouragement and solidarity. (It’s so much easier to say things on a blog!)
I think I’ve developed this knee jerk reaction to fear. If I feel fear, I just run.
Fear is important because fear communicates there is risk involved. I believe, quite often, the risk can be worth the outcome. Being authentic, despite the risk of being rejected, is worthwhile, not just because it allows me to form intimate connection, but because I am also being true to my self. I am believing I am worthwhile.
So, I am learning to embrace my fear. I no longer want to be fearless. I want to be brave.
There are a lot of different ways to say this. People resonate with different phrases.
Glennon Doyle said, “Be messy and complicated and afraid and show up anyway.”
Hannah Brencher said, “Screw perfection. I’d rather be brave.”
My mantra has become “Do it afraid.”