I have fear right now. My heart has cracked open and allowed fear to sit in the palm of its delicate and gentle hands. Within my heart lives the fear of failure… the fear of inadequacy… the fear of rejection… the fear of embarrassment… the usual fears that we all experience.
But also, the fear of opening myself to the world. And the fear of speaking up-of saying, “Hey world, look at what I’m doing!” And the fear of criticism, which to the tiny child that lives within me is the ultimate rejection and evidence that I shouldn’t pursue all my heart wants.
I’m also afraid I won’t get over my fear; that I’ll be paralyzed and rooted to these limiting beliefs for all of time, unable to break free and make the leap into the wondrous beauty of the unknown future.
I’m afraid that I’ll forever be compelled to play small, to stay small, and keep myself hidden from the world. I’m afraid of the pain and disappointment I’ll feel if I allow myself to make that choice, if I refuse to challenge my fear, to look it in the eyes and say, “You’re done, fear. You control my life no longer.”
Challenging my fear
So, how do I throw down the gauntlet and break free of my fear? Do I challenge it to a dual, provoking it to draw its weapon and fire at me?
No, I don’t. If I face off against my fear in a swift competition to see whose weapon is drawn the quickest, one of us will get eviscerated. And that will be tragic for both of us.
If fear shoots first, I lose and fear wins. But if I shoot first and win, I also lose.
Fear isn’t the enemy
You see, fear isn’t a terrible monster, a sociopath out to manipulate me and unravel my dreams. Oh no, not at all… it’s actually the very opposite. Fear is a valuable and loving travel companion on my journey through life. Though it doesn’t always appear so, fear cares very much about me. Fear wants to see me safe and secure and happy. Fear wants to see me thrive in life and be my best self… on one condition.
Fear doesn’t want me to get hurt, to feel pain, or to fall down. Fear wants all those lovely things for me, so long as I don’t fail. Or get rejected. Or make a mistake. Because those things are hard and painful and scary.
Fear is actually acting out of love for me. It’s a confused and unskilled act, yes. But it’s done out of love, no less.
So the real question isn’t, “How do I get rid of my fear?”. It’s “How do I thank fear for trying his best to keep me safe while nudging him to the side because my soul is saying, ‘It’s okay. I got this.’”
Learning to trust my soul
The most important lesson I’ve learned in life is that my soul is my biggest cheerleader. My soul will push me beyond my comfort zone, enticing me to play big and pursue my dreams. My soul will dare me to live a fulfilled life and challenge me to go after what I want.
But, my soul will also protect me. It will give me keys to the resiliency I need to get back up after I fall. It will guide me in the self-care I need to pick myself up, dust myself off and jump back on the horse. And most importantly, it will understand the lessons I’m meant to learn from the experience and will reveal them to me in the kindest, gentlest manner.
My soul will make sure I’m safe, even in my most vulnerable time. And once I learn to trust my soul, fear can be free to step aside. Once my soul takes the lead, fear knows we’ll all be okay and can finally say, “My job here is done.”