“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” ~ Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
Fear has been holding me back all my life.
It has haunted me daily and ruined some of the most important moments from my childhood onward.
It’s the kind of fear that constantly holds me back. Keeps my feet rooted to the floor when others are stepping forward to receive accolades and opportunities.
Clamps my mouth shut when I know what I need to say would be valid and of benefit. It stops me telling people about my ideas in case I would be judged as stupid.
It stops me from telling people how I truly feel when I know that’s all they need to hear. It freezes me, numbs me, stops me from growing. I watch the world go by while I endure my life in a fog.
It keeps me doubting my strength and ability to do anything. It makes me feel worthless.
I don’t know how or why it began and I’m not sure I need to know, but at some point this year I decided enough was enough.
I’m no longer scared. I’m shaking off all that angst and pushing on my merry way. All of the expectations from others (or lack of them)—parents, siblings, teachers—I’m done. Stuff them all.
I have often battled on giving others what they need without thinking of myself. Always ensuring they have all the things I’d need. It’s generally been my way, but it was making me ill and it all had to stop. My life needed a review.
I decided in my heart that it was my time and my turn to flourish. I am saying “no “more often and thinking of how saying “yes” will affect me in the long run.
Slowly but surely the fear is lifting from my being, there is nothing and nobody to be scared of any longer. I finally showed up and shouted to myself “enough is enough.”
I made myself my new project. I had become quite ill, not just in the physical sense but emotionally too. I was frazzled. I took some time away from work to speak to myself on all levels and let myself rest and heal.
I devoured books on self-love, I watched lectures on spirituality and learned what I would love to do again. I walked in all weathers and began taking photographs, I listened to music I loved. I just became a child again, returned to my true self and slowly began to heal from the inside.
I started to dip my toes in the water and take opportunities that I never would have taken before. I started to take the path less travelled and become bolder in some of my decisions. I put myself in to different social arenas, joined clubs and societies that fed me rather than sap my energy. I stopped some bad habits such as drinking alcohol and eating rubbish. I got up earlier and started the day with good intention and breath.
I have made some huge leaps in the last few months, it’s been hard and I have had to hold my nerves—even be a little cold on occasion. If I don’t do it, nobody else will.
But I can resolve to always be me, the authentic me. Not the girl others see but the me I have come to know and love over this year—the quiet, happy, sunny girl that has always been tucked up inside.
My advice, if you have been struggling with fear:
#1: This is absolutely crucial; accept that you want step out of the fear.
#2: Look at yourself, and I mean really look at yourself. Believe that you really are worth all the time and patience you so readily give out.
#3: Decide to be bold and do things that scare you. Write down all the things you have ever wanted to do and get excited about them. Become a child again, embrace the things that are in your true nature.
Last of all: daily practice. We have to keep going and really dig in. When we think we’ve done, we need to get up and dig in a bit harder. Push ourselves to love ourselves more. It will be worth it.
My new fearless life is exciting. I never know what new opportunity for growth and learning is around the corner. It all sounds like an “emotional selfie”—and it is.
Sometimes we just need to get it all out there and be excited, jump for joy and feel the goose bumps. It pushes us on our journey. Until eventually we are just living it. Then we no longer need to discuss it all at length, you just feel the freedom every day.
People see it in us and see us thriving. We have a new energy and purpose in our life. Then we can smile, because we know we are living it and they all wish they had our secret. I see it in others now.
That always makes me smile.
Author: Emma Toms
Image: Sloane Smith/Unsplash
Editor: Sara Kärpänen