What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
On a cold Sunday afternoon, these words haunted me. Through their grip, though, they offered hope. What would I do if I weren’t afraid? In unexpected ways, it seeped into my life and exposed parts of me. It challenged me. It cultivated growth and shaped me into a person that I liked more than the person I was yesterday. Throughout this transformation, I came face to face with trials. I confronted difficulty in the best possible way. The processes of enduring was rarely pleasant during the moment, but the sense of freedom that came through perseverance is unlike any other. I found that whenever I fully accepted my future without fear, chains broke off me and weights were lifted from my burdens. I experienced change, and I desire the same for you. It’s time to expose your fear, to break through the shadows and let light shine on your life. Fear is all around us, and it’s knocking on your door while you pretend you have headphones on.
What would you do if you weren’t afraid? No one is forcing you to answer this question. It can remain a question and offer nothing different to you other than a few fleeting words that pass by you in the distance. Or, you can ask it. You can wonder what may be holding you back, and what you could experience in a life free of fear. If you do, you will find that more questions appear, meandering around under the surface of your life, longing for an answer. It will dig deep into your soul if you let it. Take heart and gaze forward. The answers are there, you only need to search for them.
Do you admit your fear? Before going anywhere, we must admit the presence of fear in our lives. Many of us recognize fear, but often we go about living is if it wasn’t affecting us. This question breaks apart that lie, forcing you to admit to yourself that fear exists, or worse, that you are consistently fearing things among the daily mechanics of your life. Fear exists inside of you and influences the method in which you make decisions every day. Fortunately, you don’t have to accept your life this way. You can break through. The first step is awareness.
What are your fears? This is the next layer of formidable challenges underneath the bundle of question marks. You’ve admitted the existence of your fears, now is the time to reveal them. This won’t be a brief step on a checklist, it may require a time of seriously deep introspection. Many look to their obvious fears, such as public speaking, heights, or participating in the ride of a colossal roller coaster. Instead, you need to push beyond the trivial fears and identify the ones that have a daily impact on you. These fears may be arriving through subconscious avenues in your life, influencing you in a manner which is unknown to you. You may fear rejection from your father or being an insufficient partner in your marriage. You may fear your manager’s disapproval or your children’s downfall. You may fear reading this and walking away without a way to improve. These fears are larger, and certainly more powerful. Fears like these manifest themselves in more ways than you can perceive, and they influence your thinking in a more devastating technique than what you or I thought was possible. Fear, when fully grown, grasps hold of a person’s life and keeps them sedentary. It slows them down and prevents the strongly zealous purposes inside of you from leading you forward. For deep inside you don’t desire to live comfortably, you desire to live with meaning. Fear prevents you from your meaning because it gains control. But only if you let it. To cast off your fear, keep asking. Keep searching.
Where do your fears come from? After reaching into your fears, you must pinpoint the location from which they are materializing. Search for where they are coming from. Are these fears there because I think I’m not good enough? Are they there because I’m too afraid to fail? Are they there because I fear rejection? Ask yourself, but ask yourself honestly. Reach deeply into your mind, because no one else can do it for you.
Are your fears valid? Perhaps this is the most important component of battling your own fear. Once you’ve recognized your fears, it can be easy to settle. It can be easy to be overwhelmed, to accept the undemanding path of your life’s journey. You may feel tempted to pass over your problems and only dismiss the fears that are most comfortable to live without. But you would be missing it. What if your fears are something you don’t have to live with? What if they’re not valid? Examine yourself closer. Don’t opt out and choose what is expedient.
Perhaps the best way to test the authenticity of your fears is to vocalize them. Speak them out loud. Write them down. Question yourself. Look into your fears with the same strength that they look at you. If they’re not real, you must move past them. You can achieve your most passionate goals, but you must dive into your future with alacrity. You must let go of the distant, potential possibility that something could go wrong or that you may be discontent in the outcome. Live fearlessly. Decide what you can let go, or better yet, brace yourself for the beautiful future ahead of you. The fears of the past may have had control, but today you have a choice to race forward in triumph.
Understand that this is not an easy process, but one that is still possible, and one that is abundantly rewarding. Throughout each of these questions, remind yourself that on the other side of your fear is a magnificent life. It is a life full of new questions, where you can embark on thrilling, perilous journeys and experience a freedom that is so fascinating you may find it easier to motivate yourself than to slow down and rest. You will enter a world of bright possibilities with an attitude that is seldom bothered by a rainy day, and an adventure that is full of deep, difficult valleys and monstrous, meaningful mountains. You will appreciate the tough roads in life because they are what carry you to the freedom-filled perspective you receive after them. You will find that there is a way to live with fearless fulfillment without being naive or ignorant of the fears that will attack you in the future. You will realize that life is a journey which requires perseverance, continual self questioning, and permanent significance. No life worth living is without it’s obstacles, and your life is worth living. So take the time and ask yourself…
What would you do if you weren’t afraid?