What does fear look like?
I keep getting told that I “don’t ever look like I’m afraid” and that I’m the “strongest person [they] know” and both are complete fallacies.
I wake up everyday with fear. I have my insecurities about many things. But I am not without fear. Since I do not blast my insecurities or challenges in my life on social media for attention, in today’s oversharing society, if it isn’t posted, does that mean it’s not real?
We, as society, act like we shouldn’t be afraid. Like fear makes us weak, despite being a natural reaction for everyone. How can we ever start to learn our emotions, if we don’t acknowledge those that make us human? I don’t trust anyone who says they are not afraid. Fear is natural. It is who we are.
So I am afraid of so many things. I’m afraid I’ll wind up bankrupt. I’m afraid I’ll never get my health together. I’m afraid I’ll never fully grow into my potential. I’m afraid of letting people down. I’m afraid of being too much. I’m afraid every single time I write something like this and publish it. I taught myself to move beyond fear, not because I don’t have it, but because I know that what I want is on the other side of it. So here is what works for me. It may not work for you. It may not be anywhere relevant to your life.
First, I pray. I know where fear is, God cannot be. So through prayer and acknowledgement of my fears, concerns and worries I learn to not give my fear the head sea at the table. Fear may now sit at the kiddie table where I can see it, know it’s there, but it already has a to-go plate and its coat on waiting at the door. I do not let fear consume me.
Second, I conditioned myself to have a bias towards action. Fear is paralyzing. Fear whispers doubt and surrounds us in a cloud of worry. I learned in a painful way when I am overwhelmed I block myself. I start by thinking small and working small. I created a habit to do something, anything to keep moving, even if it’s only 1 mm to the right.
Third, I have a support system. I have real friends who see me as I am and not some external representation. My friends know me and know when I have reached my limit. They allow me to exist without demanding I be perfect in return.
So what does fear look like? It looks like me.