Look your fear in the eye and tell it to f*ck off
One of the most crippling things a person can do to themselves is to let their fears dictate what they can and cannot accomplish in life. I've been guilty of letting my fears influence some of the decisions I've made. I've let opportunities pass for fear of failure, I've pulled myself back for fear of being noticed, I've let relationships fade for fear of getting hurt. We've all been guilty of letting our fears stop us at one time or another.
I have decided fuck fear. I'm tired of letting myself down. I'm tired of always second guessing myself. Wouldn't life be so much better if we for once had complete and utter faith in our capabilities? That no matter what situation we face, we'll get out the other end a better, stronger person? I dream of the day when I'll wake up and there won't be anything holding me back from achieving what I want to achieve - not one person, not an environment, not even myself will be able to stop me.
Now I know this may be easier said than done. It's not easy to get over our fears especially if our minds have been conditioned to thinking a certain way for a long time. I think understanding and acknowledging what our fears are is the first step for us to overcome them. How are they affecting the way we do things? How are our fears holding us back? Where did these fears come from?
When we understand our fears, then we can figure out ways to overcome them. Sometimes it might be as simple as doing an activity. For example, I have a fear of fish. I think it's because my mum loved watching those weird movies with killer piranhas or shark attacks, and whenever we'd go swimming at the beach when I was young, she would always tell me if I went too far from the shoreline, I'd get eaten by sharks. Eventually it just stuck. So to face this fear, I have always loved snorkeling. I've even tried scuba diving a few times, and actually want to get a scuba license - one of my bucket list items. I still scream (literally scream, my sister has yelled at me for doing so) under water whenever a fish gets too close, but I have slowly started to learn to appreciate the beauty of the marine life. I don't want to miss out on an experience just because my irrational thinking that all fish will come and eat me.
Other times though, facing certain fears require going through a process. One of my biggest fear is my fear of failure (atychiphobia). It can be with small things like when I'm in the gym and I can't lift a weight. I get overwhelmed to the point where I'll walk out of the gym, and it'll take me a few days before I get back into my workout routine. This is one of the main reasons I prefer working out with someone because I don't like letting people down so I use my gym buddy as an accountability partner to make sure I keep going, despite failing to lift a certain weight.
In the past, my fear of failure has also stopped me from applying for jobs, schools, competitions, pretty much anything that has failing as a possible outcome. It was easier to deal with when I was younger because my parents used to make me try out for things even if I was scared of failing. Most of the times, I'd actually do pretty great. I remember one time there was an opportunity to go with my school on a one week writing workshop tour in Melbourne, Australia, with the authour John Marsden, and I initially didn't want to apply for one of the limited slots because although I loved to write, I didn't think I was good enough. My dad encouraged me to go for it, and I actually ended up being chosen, and I went. I had an amazing time.
Fears like that will take a little more time to get over. I think what's important is to know it's your fear, and to take actual steps to overcoming it. I've slowly been doing this by trying to take opportunities as they come, and using my failures as motivation to push forward. At the end of the day, these fears stem from us. We are the only ones that can say whether or not we'll let our fears influence the way we live our lives. Do you want to live in the shadow of your self-doubt, or do you want to flourish in your courage? I pick flourish.
So. Stand up. Metaphorically look your fear in the eye, hold up your middle finger, and tell it to fuck off.