“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt
As I write this I am heading to the mountains of Sapa in northern Vietnam and reflecting on what a year of healing and fear have looked like in my life. Today marks another year, another birthday that Jake and I would have celebrated together but now I find the space to honor in my heart.
This last year I’ve healed and grown from doing all the things I knew I needed to do to learn more about myself and the fear I have of moving forward with my grief–without knowing what that path actually looks like. I’ve welcomed this new chapter of my life in, but the fear is still there.
What does it actually feel like to go move forward with grief, with the pain of your past and re-member what it means to live in the present without the fear or anxiety of what the future could look like? How do you stay present with this fear? With any fear?
Fear is an important tool for our survival system. The main function of fear is to act as a signal of danger, threat and to trigger appropriate adaptive responses. It informs you with a physical-emotional response so your body and mind can protect and prepare you for something new and unknown that is about to happen.
Do not mistake fear as “bad”. Let go of the need to label for this is where our most pain and suffering comes from. It is neither good nor bad but a biological-emotional response to a situation you are facing.
Fear is your teacher.
It is here to grow you.
It is here to wake us up.
This life is meant to teach us two things: how to love and how to let go. Fear is the bridge we learn to build to bravely walk to get to the other other side and see what awaits us.
This journey of life we all bravely wake up to and go to bed with has more to teach us, more love to give to us if we let fear open us up more and more. Don’t let fear close you off to the world.
To acknowledge the deep emotions that come with fear (failure, unworthiness, guilt, grief, shame, etc.) is to live in the middle, to live in balance with our life. The bridge between joy and grief, love and death. Explore your fear, don’t shame it.
As human beings we all have a fear of failure. The fear of vulnerability is deep rooted. Fear of growing into our highest potential is also there. You see we all experience the same fears, but we also have control in what we do with the fear we feel.
Do you respond out of fear or do you respond out of curiosity to explore the deeper meaning of the fear?
Do not let fear paralyze you, let it expand you.
Without fear we would not be able to experience beauty around us or understand how precious the relationships are around us. If we do not do things we fear how will we ever grow? Fear is meant to expand us to take us deeper into something that challenges us. If we want to change we must experience fear and we must learn to not suppress it, but rather embrace it.
With fear comes failure. We must fail. It is part of life. I have never met someone who hasn’t failed, for failure holds lessons that we all need to become stronger mentally and emotionally. It challenges us to look at problems in new ways and come up with new and different solutions.
We must be vulnerable. Anyone who has been in love knows that to be in love means to be completely raw and vulnerable with another human being.
Failing helps us to become a more true version of ourself. Fear pushes us to know who we are. Do not run away from the fear to do something different–follow your heart even if others tell you it’s magical, wishful thinking.
Leave that job.
Begin a new relationship.
Travel to somewhere you’ve never been before.
Write the book you’ve been wanting to write.
Do what scares you the most.
Welcome your fears to tea.
You are here to create your life, not to hide behind it. Take the risk to do something different. Lean into fear. It’s going to feel uncomfortable at first, but what you will learn along the way is invaluable.
You won’t regret trying, you’ll only regret not trying. Don’t run away from the fear you are experiencing. Let it bring you to wholeness. Let fear open you up and show you a world of possibilities. Don’t let fear destroy you, let it re-build the life you’ve always dreamed of.
Lean into the fear. Fall in love with what it has to teach you. This is how you grow and bloom.