Fear is a female dog. I know that’s not politically correct but it’s true. Fear can hold you back from accomplishing things – great and small. Fear is the reason you don’t quit your job and create that wonderful business idea that you’ve had for the past year. Fear is the reason you go along with your friends opinions even when you feel differently about an important subject matter. Fear is the reason why picking up the phone and calling the person that you’ve been thinking about is so hard. Fear is the reason you don’t want to say, “I love you” first. Fear is the reason you can’t ask for what you need and go after what you want.
But honestly, what have you got to lose?
Life is full of some pretty disappointing and painful experiences no matter what kind of life you were born into, and what kind of life you choose to lead. And as we get older, we tend to let painful experiences become a part of who we are. Sometimes pain and fear dictate our lives more than love and courage do. Which is unfortunate because most of the time fear only exists in our head. And even when the worst thing we thought could happen has happened, are we not equipped to deal with it? I think we are.
It is true that you either live your life from fear of love, but it is truer that most people live their lives based on fear. And when we do, it prevents us from becoming the inspiring people that we were meant to become. St. Catherine of Sienna which was the patron saint at my Newman Center in college said, “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” And I believe it.
There are few times in my life where I have felt more alive than when I have done something that I was extremely afraid to do. Even if things didn’t turn out the way I wanted, I knew that they had turned out well simply because I had conquered my fears. And I honestly think that’s what most of life is about – conquering your fears. Because when you don’t, all you end up with most of the time is wonder and regret.
You often here this a lot, but life really is very short. We’re here maybe a couple of decades and then we’re gone. And what will have to show for it if we get the opportunity to lie on our death bed and reminisce? We’ll have the leaps of faith we took, the chances that we took; the moments of fear that we conquered. We’ll have the moments where we texted or called somebody in the wee hours of the morning professing our undying love. We’ll have the moments where we stood up and took action for something that we believed in. We’ll have the moments where we courageously followed our vocations no matter how they turned out in the long-run. We’ll have the moments where we were courageous enough to put our love before our fear.
Sometimes we’ve got a lot to lose and sometimes we’ve got nothing to lose. But all the time, when we don’t take the risks that in our hearts we feel we need to take, we lose finding out who we are – who we really, truly are. So the next time you’re afraid of doing that thing that you think you cannot do, take a shot of courage. Whatever kind of shot that might mean to you – whether it’s a shot of liquor, a phone call to someone who builds you up, or a quote from your favorite author. Take that shot, and ask yourself, “What have I got to lose?” And bloody hell, just go for it.