Hey everyone, happy Sunday! What’s everyone up to this fine day? Me, I’ve been writing all weekend, so not much to report on my end. Although I did go to the theatre during the week and see Motown the musical. It was incredible! If you’re in London and haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend.
I love doing things like that by myself. Going to the movies or the theatre. No one to interrupt me during an important scene (we all know the type) and because I do a lot of activities on my own, I get a lot of comments from people saying how they wish they could do the same but are too afraid. So for this post I wanted to talk about fear. That tiny four letter word, seemingly insignificant when written on a piece of paper, yet in reality, the weight behind it is causing our thoughts and emotions to hinder our progress in life.
Fear… when I let it hold me back
Over the years I have been in positions where time and time again, I have let fear hold me back. The time I was too afraid to wear a particular outfit for fear someone would think I looked funny. Or the time I didn’t go to the gym because I was worried someone would judge me for using a machine incorrectly. Not to mention the times I put off travelling to certain countries for fear it was unsafe. Although there’s some truth to that last one in parts of the world, the build up of worry in my mind always escalated my fear more than it needed to be.
After missing out on opportunities and feeling regret over this and that, it dawned on me that I was only living half a life. I was letting fear take hold of the other half and I wasn’t allowing myself to be the person I truly wanted to be. So one day I told myself, enough is enough. I can either concur my fears, or let me fears concur me. I chose the latter.
Fear… acknowledging, accepting & rationalising it
When it comes down to it, there’s nothing wrong with having fear. It’s there when it needs to be, alerting us to danger, but when danger isn’t present, that’s when we need to really look at our fear and rationalise it.
“Being fearless doesn’t mean never getting afraid. Being fearless mean never letting fear stop you.”
When I think about it, I don’t think fear every truly goes away. Well, not entirely anyway. It’s definitely still present in me whenever I travel to a new destination. I begin to worry about the little things, like walking around with my camera for example. My mind starts creating potential scenarios where I’ll be immediately identified as a tourist and be targeted for theft or unwanted attention.
However, over the years, I’ve learnt to acknowledged my fear, accept it and then rationalise it. When I get that nauseous feeling in the pit of my stomach and my heart rate starts to quicken, I ask myself where is the fear coming from? Is it based on something I’ve heard in the media or from a friend? Is it from a past experience? Is it related to social situations and judgement from others? Or is it an actual life treating situation. If my fears aren’t life threatening, then I take a deep breath, push those nerves and insecurities down and take control of the situation. I give myself an internal pep talk and force my way through that first barrier (which is my mind creating exaggerated scenarios). Once that first barrier is broken, the rest is easy. I can literally feel my fear slipping away.
Fear… then & now
The unknown is a scary thing. Whether it’s in love, career, family life, or a new hobby. But the truth is, you have to be willing to face fear and take risks if you want the opportunity to see what’s on the other side. It’s a much higher risk to stay exactly where you are, never pushing the boundaries of yourself or your life.
When I first arrived in London, I had the exact same fear I mentioned earlier, of being identified as a tourist and being targeted as I walked the streets camera in hand, taking pictures of Big Ben and other iconic landmarks. But now that I’ve been living in London for a solid amount of time, I don’t think twice about taking my camera out amongst a crowd of strangers.
So that got me thinking. Why is that? Walking around today is technically no different to when I first arrived. Then I realised, it’s because London is no longer foreign to me, it’s familiar and we as individuals whether we realise it or not, seek comfort in the familiar. Our favourite outfit, our favourite food. To us, familiar is like a safety blanket. It’s when we enter the unfamiliar that our body goes into freak out mode.
Applying the mindset I mentioned earlier about acknowledging, accepting & rationalising my fear with everything I do, has changed my life significantly. I’m no longer the woman who says no because she’s afraid. I’m the woman that says YES and proves to herself, that she can do it. I refuse to let fear control me. Unless it’s regarding spiders, then I’m running away as far as I can!
It’s not always easy to ignore our fear, but it’s absolutely doable. So whatever your fear is, take a deep breath and shut it down. Let your strength always be bigger than your fear.