What are you afraid of?

My greatest fear in life is to not be happy. Happiness is contingent upon one’s willingness to overcome fear. For example, I want to graduate college with the highest honors(summa cum laude). I’m scared to reach that goal because that means I have to sacrifice so much time and dedicate so much energy to actually doing the work to earn the grade. I may procrastinate with taking the more difficult courses, or maybe even think about switching majors. Now think about this on a larger scale, life.

We must first find out what it is that we are afraid of. Are you scared of the outcome, the effects of the outcome, or the process to get to your desired outcome? Me, I’m scared of the person I will become in the process of working towards my goals. My happiness is the most important thing to me and I know there are many things that I will be faced with that will test my integrity while trying to maintain that happiness. My biggest fear is losing myself in the process. I have very big goals for myself. I picture a comfortable, happy life for myself and my family someday in the future despite the sacrifices I know I will have to make.

In order to reach our goals, big or small, we must be willing to make sacrifices that may or may not have a negative impact on the people around us. These sacrifices can cause tension in relationships and create distance between those we love. Ultimately, we must make these decisions to avoid any hiccups in our personal success story.

More often than not we are placed in situations where we must chose to make a selfish decision which most people won’t seem to understand. Two years ago, I was so unhappy with my life. I was 18, enrolled in college, working two jobs, and had an apartment. All of my life I dreamed of getting away from my city and exploring some place new. I wanted to meet new people and experience new challenges. While I had a good life set up, I was not happy. I felt very static. I knew I could do more and I did. I decided to move to a new state and transfer to a new school…all by myself. Being alone doesn’t scare me. Anyone who knows me knows that I prefer to be by myself majority of the time anyway. This was the most selfish decision I have ever made because I didn’t concern myself with what my managers would do when I left, or who would miss me, or anything that could have possibly held me back. I knew that I wasn’t living up to my full potential and so I decided to do something for me.

I started being selfish when I made that decision and I haven’t stopped since. I’m selfish with my time, my energy, my talents, and most importantly, my happiness. Because really, like why shouldn’t I be? I’ve come to love myself because I’m not afraid of taking risks no matter how much I have to lose. I don’t worry myself with what others will think of me or what they expect from me. I literally live my life for me and that has got to be the best feeling in the world. Who else cares about my happiness more than I do? How important is your happiness to you?

I believe it is our fears which most strengths us. Why? Well it’s simple: if we are willing to 1) identify our fears, 2) come up with practical solutions, and 3) actively work out those solutions we are really taking control of that thing that makes us the weakest. We are in control when we can identify the issue. I think we’re already more than halfway there when we complete that first step. Think about it like this, how many people do you know who refuse to believe they are lacking in some area? If you can acknowledge your shortcomings, you’ve already won the hardest part of the battle.

My favorite quote, by Marianne Williamson, says that “Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure”. I have this quote tattooed on my arm so I can look at it every single day. Are we really frightened by what we are capable of? Are we scared to see what we can really do? This is the same logic that holds most people back from making that big, life-changing decision. We have to stop thinking like this and take that risk. The bigger the risk, the bigger the return. I mean, what do you have to lose? The worst that could happen is that we fail. Big deal. When we “fail” we really succeed because we just get to learn more so that we are well prepared for our next battle. And besides, why would you ever want to live with regrets? That’s not really living…

Researchers have proved that a process of cognitive restructuring helps to alleviate fears as well. This is the idea that we must alter our way of thinking(about fear) by discussing it with others. It is believed that if you confront your biggest fear, there is no chance that it will be able to harm you.

So my question to you is what are some of your biggest fears? What have you done to defeat those things? Also, what are some of your biggest goals in life? What are some things you are afraid of that might deter you from reaching those goals? How will you stop that from happening?


Until next time,

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