Thoughts on Sunday: In the things you want to do a little fear is sometimes a good sign

Sunday, 26 October 2014
Source: Victoria Nevland

As someone who suffers from anxiety of varying levels, I’ve always seen as fear being a nuisance, something to be avoided at all cost. Over the years I’ve gotten into the habit of stepping away from any and all situations that make me feel afraid. The minute I felt the tell-tale quickening of the heart, the way the room suddenly gets a lot warmer and that sweaty uncomfortable feeling, I told myself that whatever I was doing clearly wasn’t for me. 

Though this can’t be said for all situations, there are some things for which I am beginning to realise that when I am afraid of the things that I really want to do, it’s actually a good sign. It’s not a sign that I need to turn and run as far away as I can. It’s a sign that it’s something that I actually want, and the fear is of it not happening – or if it happening and not knowing what to do with it

  • I want to talk to people and get to know them but I’m afraid that the interest and desire to converse won’t be mutual and I’ll just bother them. So I’ve told myself I’m afraid of talking to people, and I’m just not a people person, when it could very well be the opposite.
  • I want to write but I don’t because I’m afraid that all that I write will be not worth the paper it’s written. And once it’s written, what if people think I’m a mockery to the name of writing. It turns out then that my fear is that my writing will be magically great without regular practise and that I’ll never get the hang of it; and that once I do not everyone will see it the way I do.
  • I want to travel but I’m afraid that when I get to these countries I won’t be able to travel “the right way”: I won’t know all the places to go, the things to see, and my trip will look nothing like the trips that inspire my wanderlust. It turns out that in the end I’m trying to have someone else’s trip despite knowing somewhere that our experiences are unique, and everyone’s trips are different because we are all different and see the world differently. 

All these fears aren’t really fears, they just feel like that because I’m so worried about not getting what I want or getting it and having no idea what to do. The only way to get rid of these fears, unfortunately, is just squaring your shoulders and going straight in the direction of what you want. 

I’ve recently learnt that there is no greater satisfaction that conquering one of these fears: you accomplish what you want and feel the exhilarating high of having fought a personal demon. (The second greatest satisfaction is a complete to-do list. It’s only happened once so far but I went to bed that bit happier, quite proud of myself!). 

Do you have something that you’ve always wanted to do but don’t because you’re afraid? Or maybe a fear that you’ve conquered?

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