I, along with so many people, had most certainly heard “don’t be scared” or “there’s nothing to be scared of” in my childhood.
Our parents wanted to convince us that we were in a safe environment, and as children, we wanted to live in our own little bubbles—the ones that contained everything wonderful and nothing scary. But we grow up and reality sets in, and we get scared of things before we quickly tell ourselves to grow up and stop being so scared.
But alas, life isn’t always that simple. Things scare us, and sometimes, only sometimes, are those things we fear a genuine threat. Other times, our fear occurs because of something entirely different, and these fears can become an overwhelming, even debilitating issue.
Fear is the bear walking towards you. It is the angry dog that’s been let off its leash. Fear is crossing the road without looking or the sign that says “danger, do not enter!” These fears are, in a nutshell, the ones we need to pay a little more attention too. They are the ones that help us live our days in the safest and happiest possible ways. Paying attention to our surroundings and adapting to what’s going on around us can be potentially life-saving. It’s where the idea of fight-or-flight response has stemmed from- the physiological reaction that we may have in response to a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival. These are situations where you’re probably not alone in your fearful thinking.
Fears can also border on more everyday thoughts—whether you’ll get to the airport on time and whether you have the means in place to get you there on time. It is a fear of public speaking or the worry that you won’t be a good enough parent to your newborn. But then there are the fears that stop you from doing the things that you love. The fears that stop you from entering a certain place or perhaps even leaving home.
There are a multitude of fears, and the proportion of helpful-to-unhelpful fears isn’t always clean-cut; nevertheless, the fear we feel should not be something we shy or run away from but something we should embrace.
Because feeling the fear and doing it anyway puts you one step closer to overcoming the fear.
Because accepting fear is to be human.
Because embracing what scares you helps you put it into perspective. Are you really in danger? What’s the worst that could happen? And what’s the alternative to the worst? What’s the very best thing that could happen?
Because embracing your fear can lead you to wonderful places and open up opportunities.
Because sometimes it’s not entirely fear. Sometimes excitement and anticipation join the party.
Because knowing it’s fear allows you to control your fear. Own the fear, don’t let the fear own you.