Fear is an emotion that I live with everyday. Fear of failure, Fear of success, Fear of rejection, Fear of friendship, Fear of loss, Fear of fear.
Fear grips you like a python, at first it just slides lightly over you and you let it stay a little longer. Then slowly fear will start to entwine itself you just like the python, wrapping itself around your body and tightening its grip, tighter and tighter until before you know it you can’t breathe. You haven’t even really noticed how much it has invaded your life and gotten a strangle hold on you so much so that you simply don’t know how to get out.
Fear has been my constant companion for as long as I can remember. As debilitating as fear has been in my life it has also become like a warm and comfortable blanket. When I try to think of a life without fear suffocating and strangling everything I do it is frightening but also a little bit exciting.
Fear is a necessary basic human emotion. It is hardwired into our brains to keep us safe from danger. When the fear response is working properly in our lives it comes when there is a potential threat, helps us to identify the danger and passes when the threat has passed. For me however, the emotion of fear, the feeling of fear came and never left me. There are the physical responses that I have most of the time that no-one else notices including the sweaty palms, the racing heartbeat, the fast talking, the fidgeting. Then there are the emotional responses of sadness, despair, worry, unease all of which lead into my brain starting to cycle out of control.
For me fear sucks. It sucks the enjoyment out of life, it robs me of many experiences through the fear of rejection so I don’t go. It is also an emotion that I want to get rid of from my life.
Living with fear constantly has meant for me:
- I don’t always think straight and it can be impossible for me to identify any good in a situation or that everyone else is also probably feeling exactly the same way.
- It has kept me trapped in a cycle of being to afraid to change because I can’t see anything good or bad that could come from change.
- In fact it has kept me from having to do anything at all because until now I didn’t recognise it and I had no way of escaping its clutches.
However recently I made a decision that fear was not going to control my life anymore. It was not going to be my first response to a situation. I am sure that fear for me started as a perfectly natural response to what were realistically bloody awful circumstances. More recently fear became my armour or shield to hide my shame and vulnerability behind. It also meant that the bigger the shield got and the heavier the armour became the harder it was to let go of it, the harder it was to show myself compassion, forgiveness and kindness. I lightened that load recently by telling my story publicly on Team Women Australia. The biggest lesson I learnt from this is that despite the fear when you are honest, raw and allow yourself to be truly vulnerable, the likelihood is that there is far more support and love than judgement and rejection.
I hope that by choosing to step out from the fear that I will change my future, looking forward. I no longer want to be suffocated by the fear, I am stepping out of the darkness into the light of life. This is not an easy thing to do by any means, in fact just thinking about it sets my heart racing. I am determined to disentangle myself from the python and force it to let go of its strangle hold on me and to not let it suffocate me again.