Today, I have something very honest that I want to talk about. Normally, I don’t even want to acknowledge this topic. In fact, I usually do everything I can to avoid it, to bury it in the depths of my heart, to act as though it doesn’t even exist.
But today, that is not the case. Today, I want to talk about fear.
One little four-letter word sure can carry so much baggage. I know what you may be thinking: everyone has fears. Some people fear heights, others fear spiders, and some even fear scary movies to an extreme (I am definitely one of those people). However, I’m not talking about that type of fear. I’m talking about the type of fear that is so crippling that you can’t even mentally acknowledge it without feeling paralyzed. I’m talking about the type of fear that you write off as irrational, which you then try your hardest to suffocate by binge watching Netflix and crying your eyes out over Pride and Prejudice. I’m talking about real, hard-core, debilitating fear. It plagues everyone.
This weekend, I went on a church ski trip, and I finally acknowledged my fear. The theme of the trip was focusing on the “hurdles” of life, hurdles meaning problems, and how to navigate them. Zack, the pastor that was invited to speak, talked about how fear is one of the greatest hurdles that we face as humans. I realized in that moment that fear is 100% my hurdle. Fear is the obstacle that continuously pops up in front of me and stops me from doing what I desire. Fear is the barricade that keeps me from even taking a step outside of my comfort zone.
On this trip, I learned that even when we are faced with truth, we still let out internal fears hold us back. We allow our decisions be guided by the things that terrify us, instead of the honest, logical legitimacy that is presented before us. We try and cover up our fear with strength, but with that, we cheat ourselves. We lie to ourselves. If you can’t acknowledge what scares you, then who can?
In all honestly, I feel like I am layers of fear. Life, love, college, my future, making the right decisions, having enough money, being a good person, staying safe – it’s all there. I keep myself from venturing outside of my comfort zone because of my fear, because I am too afraid that letting a part of myself that I usually keep covered be seen will only cause me embarrassment and heartbreak. For the longest time, I have believed that my fear is simply what could go wrong if I let myself step out. This weekend, I realized that that’s not it at all.
My greatest fear is the possibility that I will let my fear hold me back. That is what scares me the most, and I know I’m not the only one.
I used to believe that being fearless meant that I needed to overcome my fear in every possible way. This weekend, I learned that that is not the truth. Being fearless means getting up every day, wearing your heart on your sleeve, and looking fear straight in the eyes. Being fearless means feeling absolutely terrified to do something, but doing it anyway. In the wise words of Taylor Swift, “Fearless is not the absence of fear. To me, fearless is living in spite of those things that scare you to death.” I am afraid that my fear is going to keep me from pursuing my dreams, but I’m okay with that. I’m not scared to acknowledge it anymore, because acknowledgement is the first step towards victory. I have so much life ahead of me, and so much potential in the future, that I cannot let myself be crippled by the lies that fear tells me. Fear is a natural, authentic part of life, and just because it is difficult to overcome fear does not mean that it is not possible. Life is full of scary things, doubtful thoughts, and daily struggles, but it’s also full of big dreams, joyful hearts, and courage. Hurdles will come up and fear will be present, but it’s up to us to decide whether we will fall back, or sprint ahead.
I think it’s best to get a running start.
Stay beautiful and be fearless!