The Confines Of Fear
Fear is a funny thing. It only exists inside our own heads, but is so often brought out into the open that it might as well be a massive boulder, blocking all of our paths.
What would YOU do, if you weren't afraid?
That is a great question for all of us, because fear can tend to hold us back from doing so much. This was the question roaming my thoughts when I was climbing last week; pushing my fear of heights to the side as I did so. You see, I've been declaring myself to be scared of heights since I was a little girl, never considering that I could overcome such a fear. So having the opportunity to challenge my own perception of myself was a wonderful opportunity because as I climbed higher and higher, suddenly I realised I wasn't frightened in the least.
I won't deny that there was a time in my life when I was afraid of heights, but I know now that I'm not anymore. And suddenly, all the versions of me who held back because of fear, are screaming at me for not realising this earlier. It's a valuable lesson: just because we were frightened once, doesn't mean we have to be frightened forever. Each one of us has within us the ability to challenge and change our own perspectives of ourselves and who we are. What makes us who we are. Fears are a part of that, but they aren't necessary for our wellbeing- if anything they have the opposite effect!
Everything is good for you in moderation. A little fear is good for us- it works with our brains to forewarn us that the road ahead may not be the best one to take, but too much fear means we would stay where we were, not taking any road at all. This is how fear works, after all.
I'm not just talking about fear when I talk about changing our perceptions of ourselves. How many times have you declared that you couldn't do something- draw, run, talk to strangers, speak in front of a class, etc. ? We tell ourselves so regularly that we can't do these things, that soon those beliefs become part of who we are. But when was the last time you tried again with something you said you couldn't do? For example, I've always said I'm terrible at art, that I couldn't only draw a stickman, but I'm not really. I've recently started painting, and I surprised myself. I know there are hundreds of people out there who may be better than I am, but I am still fairly good for someone who never took art and is learning as she goes along.
We, as humans, have a habit of talking ourselves down. Not just to other people, but to ourselves as well. We tell ourselves that we cannot do something, and we stop trying. We give up. And we give up, simply, because of fear. The fear of not being good enough, the fear that other people are better, the fear of what other people will say. As Ben Howard puts it in his song 'The Fear'; we all live our lives in the confines of fear.
What I'm trying to say, is that we need to change the way we think about things. Hold out just that little bit longer, try over and over again, never give up. We cannot say we are afraid of heights if we have avoided them forever. And maybe we'll try again and we will still be afraid; but that's okay. It's okay because we gave ourselves another chance, we challenged our perspectives on the most important subject in the world: ourselves.
From today onwards, I'm making a pact with myself to not live within the confines of fear. To colour outside the lines, think outside the box. I'm challenging every thought I have about who I am, to ensure that what I say still reflects the truth, my own truth. I would encourage you all to do the same.
Be brave. Think of you could do if you weren't afraid.