Sunday, June 14, 2015

Conquering Our Irrational Fears

Fear. What is it? Why do we fear? What do we fear most of? How were these fears even built inside of us? And why do we make so many life decisions based on them?

These are the questions that flow into my mind every time I sense a little fear creeping inside of me.

Many years ago, as a little girl, I would find myself bursting into tears right before I'd fall asleep and not because I was afraid of the monster underneath the bed, but rather of the newly found notion of death. I remember not being afraid of dying, as much as being terrified that life goes on after death - that the world will keep spinning, that the trees will keep growing, and that everything will stay the same even after I'm gone. It was a thought too painful to fathom.

Yes, I was a strange kid, I guess. Monsters - cool. Life continuing after death - frantic crying.

I have since come to terms with the fact that I am, in fact, NOT the center of the world. And honestly, thank God for that... It would be quite the burden if the world would seize from spinning just because I happened to have left it. But instead of that fear - others took its place. Fears that are more subtle, more "logical", more acceptable. And yet, the fears I deal with today are in fact far more irrational than that one existential fear I would feel as a child dazing of to sleep in her bed.

Today's fears - my adult fears - have been accompanying me for many years. These fears have been growing ever so slightly with the constant help of reality taking its toll, magnifying the fears, proving their need time after time. If it is the fear of being alone, of letting go of myself, of losing people I care for, of failing in my business, of hurting or being hurt and above all - the biggest fear - the mother of all our fears - the fear of time, and our inability to control it.

Every mistake we make, a fear follows. Every wrong turn we choose, a fear erupts. Every hope that shatters, fear takes its place. And soon enough, fear is all we are left with. We start making decisions based on our fears that have by now made a home for themselves inside of us, comfortably laying there, dictating our every move.

Should I go talk to the pretty girl by the bar? Fear: "No, she'll refuse you and her friends will laugh in your face. That will be so embarrassing"

Should I study really hard, ace the tests, and then apply to the University of my dreams? Fear: "No, you're not smart enough, you won't get in"

Should I tell my husband that I am unhappy in our relationship? Fear: "No, he'll get upset, he'll leave you. This is as good as it gets. Get over it"

Should I search for love again? Fear: "No. Why? Why would you do that to yourself? It always ends badly. Someone always gets hurt. Just settle for what's already out there. It's good enough"

Should I start my own business? Fear: "No, of course not. What, are you crazy? Have you lost your mind? You're still just that little girl. You don't even know where to start!"

These and more are just some of the fears that accompany us throughout our lives. Most of which were introduced and carefully built as well as nourished by non-other than the people you love most and above all, by yourself. And so you hold on to these fears, and even grow new ones to back the existing ones up. You want and don't pursue. You desire, but take a step back instead of push forward. You become a prisoner in a jail of fears. And the fear of taking action that will result in failure is the worst kind of fear. Inaction has a 100% of not achieving what you truly want. Action, on the other hand, has some better stats on its side. Even if the chance for success is small - it is still there.

Some people say that the agony of taking the chance and not knowing what the results will be is sufficient enough to make us not take the chance in the first place. Well, I beg the differ! Fear will not dictate the way I progress in my own life.

The fear of failure is not mine - it's someone elses'.

The fear of insufficient time (Oh, you're already 31, shouldn't you start thinking of family and not about your business) - that is someone else's fear.
The fear of the pain you feel when you do fail - well, that is my fear. But with all due respect to you, old friend, you are nothing but a passing feeling that usually results in a good long cry, only to disappear again into the shadows and let me fight another day for what I truly desire.

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