“I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know.
It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always … so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.”
― Yann Martel, Life of Pi
So a friend of mine and an awesome supporter of my blog hit me up Sunday night, asking if I could write an article on Fear.
(I’m always open to suggestions on what to write on next, so please pitch me an idea!)
Weeks back, I published one on Five Reasons To Worry Less And Five Ways How, so if you’d want to take a peek at that too, it’s still right here on the blog!
And so I wondered all week, where do I even begin from?
I’d need my fingers and my toes to count just how many fears I’ve battled with.
(Right now, I’m still crazy scared of heights and drugs for when I’m sick. Got any recommendations?)
The biggest used to be, the fear of failure.
And so for a long time, I struggled with this.
I was one of the best students in high school, head of different departments and functions at different social gatherings, admired by a lot of family members and strangers and friends.
They said I had great potentials, I was a people person, I had character, I was smart and responsible — I always gained trust and respect from most people I came across.
That didn’t change the battle I had.
Their validation was not enough.
I still feared failure. Feared I wasn’t enough.
I was terrified of it.
It’s not really something I could explain.
I feared graduating from the university and not finding a job.
I feared writing a book like everyone suggests I should and not selling a single copy.
I feared never finding my own path that would bring me success.
I feared there was another of me out there, only a hundred and one times more of all that I was, and I’d always lose to them.
And so I’d apply for writing gigs and not check my mail for feedbacks.
I’d see what I want but go: “Oh Ima, you really think you’re the most qualified, really?”, and I’d let that pass me by.
I’d get a “You did an excellent job” or a “You’re pretty awesome, you know”, and I would actually say to myself, “You’re just easy to work with and listen to instructions, how can you do something that these many people would think is excellent?” and “Me? Awesome? Isn’t that word meant for, I dunno, Martin Luther King?”
And finally, it hit me.
I didn’t just fear failure anymore, I had feared failure so much and for so long that I was afraid of success now.
And I got angry with myself after that.
Because like author and spiritual teacher Marianne Williamson said, “…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. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
You cannot get over a fear you cannot face.
If you choose to never confront them, they sit in the front seat of your life, and they drag you around and all over.
We look at our fears as barriers, but the only barrier is because we choose to see them as such.
Everyone has fears, all of us.
It just depends on what we choose to do about it.
You cannot but need to break through.
You cannot get over the fear of being abandoned until you accept the fact that you can be abandoned by the one you trust the most tomorrow!
You can’t get over the fear of amounting to a failure in life until you face the truth that you, yes you, can turn out to be one tomorrow!
Yes, face it already.
Yes, you can! Face it!
And now, what are you going to do about it?
Do something about it.
Don’t suppress it, don’t ignore it.
Grab it. Feel it. Face it.
Yes, you might get burnt. But maybe that’s what you need.
Get burnt and let that shake you up and strengthen your back some more.
And what can you do about it, you ask?
Don’t abandon your own self into the hands of others completely. You own you.
Don’t sit and wait for life to “fall into place” for you.
Don’t overanalyze it: You were put here to dominate and you have all that you need to do so, right in your palms.
Don’t wait for life to crumble over your head,for something bad to occur — instead expect good.
Understand you do not own nor have any single control over the future.
But you can influence it to an extent with today.
And don’t water your fears. Don’t feed on them.
Your fears are meant to be felt and dealt with or they will grow, (and they grow up so fast, I tell you!)
The fear of not being enough then grows to the fear of not knowing how to appreciate yourself, even if everyone does.
The fear of the future graduates to you living life too carefully, too ordinarily, too mediocre.
Ever heard of artist Vincent Van Gogh?
Here’s a little about him I read online:
“…Today, Van Gogh’s work sells for unprecedented prices and is some of the most valuable and highly sought after in the world. His Portrait of Dr. Gachet sold for $82.5 million in 1990, making it one of the most expensive paintings ever sold.
In his time, however, Van Gogh was a failed, starving artist. He produced more than 2,000 works of art, but sold only two during his lifetime. Suffering with mental illness and further depressed by his lack of success, Van Gogh committed suicide at the age of 37.
Van Gogh’s post-Impressionist style, filled with emotion, movement and vibrancy, was not popular during his life but would go on to influence decades of artists that followed, and his works remain some of the most highly regarded paintings in modern art.”
It broke my heart reading this the first time.
Over 2000 works of art and all of them went down the drain.
Simply because the shame from he thinking he wasn’t good enough engulfed him entirely.
And all of a sudden, everyone thinks he rocks!
I took a look at a couple of his works, as he apparently destroyed a lot, and they were amazing.
What’s your fear doing to you?
What part of your life is it holding down?
Are you going to do something about it or are you going to let it win without giving a fight?
Now, one quick reminder before we all run off and into the weekend — don’t choose to face your fears simply because I say so.
You must want it for yourself.
Open your eyes and see what that fear has been doing to you — and if you get angry about it, you know you’re ready to try.
Nine years back, my baby sister was born.
Less than two months after, we had our first near-robbery attack.
My father had practically opened the door for them, and had a gun pointed to his head — and while my older sister and I ran off to mom in the bedroom, my father shoved both men backwards and slammed our door shut.
He said he gave it no thought. And most likely, he’d do it again.
No, he’s no Superman. No, he’s not muscular, no, I’m not showing off my hero. (Hehe)
No, I’m not asking you to attempt to kill yourself either. Just showing you that sometimes, that leap of faith is worth it.
And I’m saying, sometimes, we have to be aggressive with our fears.
Be angry with them. And do something massive.
Your fears? They aren’t meant to be cowered from, or worse, ignored like they do not exist.
Like my father would say: “I didn’t think, I saw the danger, but I saw the need to do something, anything, about it.”
Life wants to see you fight back when you’re uncomfortable.
Fear wants to see what you can do about it.
It may throw you down, but do something.
There is something much more important than your fears — and if you do not believe that, then you’re selling your entire self short.
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
So this week, would you do yourself the well deserved favour of trying to overcome one fear of yours?
Start with one. Just one. Any one.
Face it, and do something about it.
Was this helpful? Did it sound logical? Questions? A suggestion maybe?
Please share your much appreciated thoughts with me through the comments section! Pretty please?
And one quick favor, if you know someone else who needs to see this, I’d appreciate you sharing this article with them too.
Go into the weekend with courage and confidence and guts — and let it all shine through!
Deliciously Yours To Savour,