Oh hello again, Monday.
Thanks for joining me again for your weekly dose of motivation! These posts are meant to help others, but they always end up helping me, too. Sometimes I write on a topic that I know a lot about, and love giving my advice, but most of the time I write about a topic that I’m still exploring, and may need your help. I encourage you to leave comments at the end of these posts to ask questions or offer a suggestion! You never know who may be reading and may need your advice … including the author 😉
(The photo above is of my husband from our hike up Castle Rock on Blue Mountain Lake!)
Today’s topic is: fear. Fear is a strong and powerful emotion. In many cases, fear helps save us from danger, and tells our brain to get someplace safe. But often, our fear is created by our own negative thoughts and can end up debilitating us. Fear may cause us to miss out on some pretty awesome things. Obvious things: roller coasters, cliff jumps, sky diving. Not so obvious: partnerships, dreams coming true, and love. Whoa. Heavy, right? This is the tough love section of the post and it’s almost over. Here are some words of wisdom to help you get past your fear:
(The original art from this print was found here. I really love this artist’s work and am pretty glad that I stumbled upon it today!)
The quote above is pretty true. It’s hard to really get everything you want (or even the things that you need) if you can’t get through your fear. One way that my fear keeps me from what I want is routine. Routines can be good for us. They bring order and stability. But they can also stop us from making progress. I’ve started recognizing this in my own life and tried to find ways to break up my safe, fearless, and halting bouts of routine. Even if it’s taking a different train home, or joining a choir – shaking up my routine puts me in new and possibly scary situations. But those new situations have lead to some pretty awesome outcomes. (Just a side note: now I have a fear of routine, and start worrying that I’m not doing enough to break it haha I didn’t say that I was perfect. I’m still learning, too!)
Another way fear has gotten the best of me was when I first moved to New York City. I was 18 and living at the (famous) 92nd Street Y with a few other girls from my school. Our lodging was about 20 blocks north of our school, and right in the heart of NYC’s Upper East Side. Having lived here for 10 years now, and in some of NYC’s worst neighborhoods, I now know that the area I was living in at the time was very safe and pretty posh. My fear kept me from going to the store to buy food on my own, or even using the subway to get around. Finally, necessity forced me to get past my fear. Not only did I finally buy groceries and take public transit on my own, but I also walked a few blocks south to the shops on crowded 86th street and passed out my resume for a job. And guess what? I was hired the next day. Like I said, fear can keep us from things that we need – like food, transportation and money. I still have a healthy dose of a form of fear (I call it self awareness), but I’ve learned that fear makes you vulnerable to tragedy, while fearlessness helps you avoid or overcome tragedy.
Recently, my Grandmother passed away. At her funeral, just before we closed the casket, our family shared a private moment gathered around her. We were each given a small card with a bible verse typed out in Spanish. My Grandmother was Puerto Rican and very faithful. These “promise” cards were found in her room after she passed. As I peered over the shoulder of my cousin to see her card, I saw a long verse. I was certain that my years of High School Spanish would fail me, and I would never be able to translate my card before I placed it in her casket. I was wrong. I had a very short verse:
Hechos 18:10 “Porque yo estoy contigo, y nadie te atacará para hacerte daño”
I verified it with a family member’s whose Spanish was much better than mine, and beamed with pride to know that I was correct. I felt like I was making Grandma proud. Later, when I went to look up the verse to share it here, I realized that there was a little bit more to it, “porque yo tengo mucho pueblo en esta ciudad” which means, “because I have many people in this city“. As a city dweller, this hit home. It felt like Grandma had specifically picked this verse for me. She was encouraging me not to fear physical harm, and assuring me that God and his people are watching over me.
So whether you believe in God or not, I encourage you to embrace your fear and move through it. Think about what you’re really afraid of when you feel fearful. Is it rejection, failure, harm, or change? Then ask yourself what you need to do to overcome that fear. To me, knowledge is power. So if you’re afraid or not sure, take a class. Take a self defense class, take a public speaking class, take a dating class (they exist, I’m sure!). But actually do it! It may not be easy, but letting your fear get the best of you means missing out on what you really want in life.
What are your best tips for overcoming a fear? I still have a few fears that I’m overcoming, and I intend to take my own advice today. Let me know if you plan on overcoming some of your own fears, too!