By nature, I am a fearful person. Always have been. Although I am slowly working on destroying that limiting belief, which has become more of a habit than anything else. This way of thinking doesn’t serve me well, and instead contributes to me hiding and playing small.
I grew up afraid of many things, based on having a chaotic upbringing. I didn’t know what to expect and so I relied on irrational fears as a way to protect myself and prepare for the worst-case scenario. It was a childish attempt to control what was happening around me, those unexpected external circumstances. A common coping mechanism for many and yet detrimental as it’s difficult to navigate life when operating from a place of fear or having negative expectations.
As I matured, those fears only intensified, especially when faced with real adult problems. It was challenging for me to feel at ease, consumed with the thought that disaster was right around the corner. I have to say, despite anticipating the end of the world, I never faced a situation I couldn’t handle. I have never been homeless, hungry or unemployed - my top 3 irrational fears. And yet, thoughts of potential loss had been so ingrained in me to an extent that I often made decisions based out of fear, instead of relying on faith.
Thinking that I am a fearful person put me in a box of my own making, conceding to the label that was placed upon me. The thing about labels is that they become a self-fulfilling prophecy. There have been so many times in which I justified my decisions based on the fact that I grew up as an “anxious child.” Or from hearing, “you’ve always been a worrier.” These statements set the tone for how I viewed myself and ultimately behaved because after some time, I internalized the messages I was receiving. Labels can be dangerous, especially when we give them power.
I think it’s important to recognize there are legitimate situations in which fear is a natural response. In these instances, the experience becomes a part of us, our psyche and we’re naturally inclined to react based on what has happened in our past. I am certainly not immune to this, as I have held back in relationships and other areas of my life out of fear that I will somehow get hurt or fail again. I gradually built a wall around my heart in hopes of avoiding emotional pain. As a result, I closed myself off, missing out on what could have been amazing life experiences and opportunities for connection, intimacy and personal growth.
Over the last year, I have been practicing the art of letting go. After working in a field for over a decade, I felt compelled to use my expertise to create something meaningful, fully knowing that my purpose is to help others heal. At first, I hesitated, fear creeping in almost immediately, preoccupied by what I could potentially lose. And then I asked myself, what’s the worst that could happen? After allowing space to reflect on every negative and fear-based thought, I reminded myself that I will always be taken care of; consciously taking my power back and deciding to give my dreams a real shot. Little by little, I began deconstructing old thought patterns and limiting beliefs, to make way for my dream to come into existence. It’s an incredible feeling, learning to trust and navigating this transition through a lens of positivity.
What feels like failure is often a gift and it has taken some time to reframe the way I view circumstances. Someone recently said to me. “Everything works out.” And you know what, he was right. Experiencing loss and not getting what I thought I wanted turned out to benefit me in the long run, despite not being able to see that in the moment. Fear does nothing but keep us stunted, rooted in place, and at times unable to take action. Optimism can go a long way, fueling our desire to continue down roads unknown, taking chances and untangling ourselves from insidious fear-based conditioning. It’s a practice, one that requires diligence and patience, but if we remain open to change, it can lead to one hell of an outcome.