I’m afraid of EVERYTHING. There are so many things I’ve missed out on just through being afraid. And the thing about fear is that it makes me do funny things. Fear of abandonment results in behaviour that ultimately pushes the other person away. Then my abandonment issues become a self-fulfilling prophecy. I say yes to things I might not normally or behave out of character out of fear of not fitting in. I deny my true self because I am afraid people won’t like the real me. Fear causes war, hatred, discrimination.
I’ve told myself over and over that I’m not going to let myself be afraid anymore. No matter how many times I do that, I still notice fear motivating a lot of my behaviour. Recently I mentioned confidence, which I think is key to combatting fear. Think about it… confident people don’t seem to be afraid of anything. It’s likely that they are, they’re just better at hiding it. All of the things we’re afraid of still have an impact on that confident individual. Maybe their confidence allows them to bounce back easier. Or maybe they can just draw upon the success of past experiences in times of fear.
I’m going to use me going back to school at age 31 as an example of how fear works in my mind. I got picked on and rejected all through school. The last time I went to college I let my fear of educational facilities rule the entire experience. I don’t really have any close friends from that program and I didn’t really do anything with the diploma. This time around I was terrified to try again. But I want to learn how to express myself creatively through electronic media and this is the best place for me to do it. My desire to learn these skills overpowered the fear. So I went every day. No matter how scared I was, no matter how my mental illness was manifesting itself I went. Hiding all that fear didn’t go so well at first and I made a lot of bad decisions because I was just constantly in a state of anxiety for the first semester. But then I woke up and reminded myself that I’d done it every day for four months and there wasn’t anything to be afraid of anymore. Anytime I was scared of going to school I reminded myself “you did it yesterday.” Every time I did that my confidence in my abilities went up. At first, I was humbled by the talent of my peers and afraid I didn’t have what it takes, but with every submitted assignment my confidence in my abilities increased. I used to think I was a terrible writer, now I’ve started a blog to practice my writing skills and completely changed the focus of my studies. I didn’t think I was a terrible writer, I was afraid people wouldn’t like my writing. The confidence in myself that I gained through challenging the boundaries of my comfort zone led me here to this computer right now. Posting my writings on the internet was something a year ago I wouldn’t have thought myself capable of.
I don’t think a person can just stop being afraid overnight. But doing things in spite of the fear is how you overcome it. If I’m not challenging the boundaries of what I’m comfortable with, things will always stay the same.