Feeling the Fear is Human

Imagine having wasted more than half of my life on being afraid. Being so petrified that I did not go after the things I truly wanted, or experience the things which would have opened up my mind or enriched my life. I did not even dare say the things I should have said. Especially to the people I most wanted to say them to.

Imagine being paralysed by fear and retreating further from my dreams until I embodied self-pity. I thought I was safe in my comfort zone. As long as I did not step across the yellow lines, I thought nothing could hurt me. Little did I know that hiding within the walls of false security would not protect me.

Imagine the toxic inner dialogue that went on in my head – day in and day out. I even convinced myself that the best thing for me was to stay indoors with fear. I had invested so much effort and time in fooling myself when I could have used the same energy and time to rescue myself instead.

How many of us have deprived ourselves from living the life we should have led, and denied the person we should have become? 

(show of hands, please)

If you have experienced fear or are grappling with fears of any form, then all of this would be familiar to you. Perhaps, a little too familiar.

When we allow fear to rule over us – be it in a small or big way – we become someone entirely far removed from the person we are meant to be. We actually deny the person we truly are. 

I did not realise until very late in life.

Because realisation is a hard and painful process. It digs deep and unearth things we may not be prepared to see or accept. Some things we may not care to remember, because we’ve worked so hard to bury them. Hence, we rather build fortresses of delusions and facades to hide our own deception or suffering. They help us cope with the day-to-day living, but not necessarily in the best way. Because it usually does not take too long until the tormenting cycle starts again. As a result, we wear masks to conceal the darkness or agony. Sadly, we’ve become too accustomed to wearing disguises that we begin to think the masks are really us.

In order to see through the fallacy of it all, we must first have the compelling desire to live authentically without allowing fear to get in the way.

We have to become the seekers of truth and not an escapists of truth.

The truth is, the fear will always be there – waiting to be felt, demanding to be acknowledged. No one is spared. We are never too young or too old to feel afraid. Fearlessness does not mean the absence of fear. Being fearless requires us to recognise our fears and address them, instead of avoiding them. We won’t fully stop feeling the fear, but we will cease feeling paralysed.

I am no different from you. I had felt the same sense of hopelessness. Many times over.

But I realised that the power to decide and craft my path was with me all along. I was just too chicken-shit to do it in the past, because I did not want to bear the responsibility of it all. In case, I fucked things up badly. But life is unpredictable and things do fuck up from time to time. May be they are meant to fuck us up. Otherwise, how would we ever become wiser, better, stronger and learn anything of value?

So, even though I was a coward of the worst kind, I went still ahead and decide that I wanted a very different life for myself.

We could allow the fear to control us all our lives, or we learn to deal with our fears and live the life we dream of. Click to tweet.

Hence, I imagined how I could have a much more meaningful life. I was even prepared to work at it, seek it out and find the answers to all my neurotic riddles – knowing that it would be demanding and challenging.

I understood that when all the walls of constricted comfort zone came down, my real life would begin. I would begin.

I did not want to keep running or denying. I didn’t want to keep wearing disguises.

I wanted to see my real face. Most of all, I wanted to know what I was made of.

Yes, of course, I felt the fear. I was trembling before, during and after I made that fateful decision.

Even today, I still shiver from time to time – depending on how enormous that fear is.

But I want to undress the fear and not have the fear undress me.

I realised that although I can become frightened and will, I am not powerless.

I can do many things to HELP myself. And so can you.

Thus, began this journey of fearless living.

It began with a committed decision to change for the better. That was my first fearless act.

Sometimes a decision could literally change the rest of our lives. In an amazing way.

That’s when we know that we have made the right choice.

So, ask yourself  –

What’s stopping you from becoming who you want to be?

Don’t you deserve the opportunity to rise and become the best of you, instead of living life as a lesser you?

What would you do if you were not afraid?

Imagine the life you wish to live, even to the minutest of details.

Imagine the person you wish to become, and how you would feel.

Imagine enjoying the positive results of your progress.

Then make the right choice. Do it for you. 

Because there is something far worse than living with fear, it is living with regrets.

So, start by writing down all your fears onto a “Check List”. This will help you chart your progress. I can guarantee that you’ll feel great each time you check those items off the list.

Tackle the easy or smaller fears first, then work towards taking on the bigger or more challenging ones.

Some fears may take more time and effort than others. What’s crucial is that you don’t give up. Keep working at it, no matter how difficult it gets.

In the process, you’ll see your confidence grow. And with each accomplishment, you will feel more empowered.

With time, you’ll uncover your own greatness.

And that’s your highest reward.

Always remember, being afraid is human but staying afraid is a choice.

The power to choose lies in the palms of your hands.

Being Afraid Is Human, But Staying Afraid Is A Choice.

  • mihrank
    December 1, 2014

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.

    • shirleymaya
      December 1, 2014

      Ah, I recognise that quote. It is from Marianne Williamson. I love that quote! Thanks for sharing it. You are so right. We do not serve the world by playing small or being the lesser version of us. 🙂

  • ramblingsfromamum
    December 2, 2014

    Interesting article Shirley. Facing our fears is necessary, helping us to survive. Beginning as a Funeral Celebrant last year, knowing that I had done a small amount of public speaking (birthdays etc) I thought speaking a relatively easy task. This was my chosen profession. My first service, I was well nothing short of ‘shitting’ myself, pacing, deep breathing. My fear had raised it’s ugly head. Rising above, controlling my fears and forging on, service after service. I have now done 47, I won’t say I still don’t have fear, as I do, or perhaps its best described as anxiousness. Being a celebrant is now what I do, fear has to go on the back burner, for my ongoing income and also for myself..so that I can continue on for the next one.

    • shirleymaya
      December 3, 2014

      You are amazing, Jen! You do have so many valuable stories about fear and overcoming it. We all could learn a lot from you. Thank you dearly for sharing. I deeply appreciate it. Hope to receive your guest blog post soon! Hugs x

  • Arlen Shahverdyan
    December 5, 2014

    Dear Shirley, please do something to use the “Like” icon. I always read your posts and admire them but I do not want only to write a comment but also to put my sincere LIKE! 🙂 That’s why I think there must be done something to solve this! Hugs…

    • shirleymaya
      December 5, 2014

      My dear Arlen,
      Thank you for always sharing your thoughts. For this new blog site and format, there will be no like buttons. As I am self hosted, the like button will not be added in my blog. In any case, your comments and visits are more than enough for me. Thank you for being such a wonderful supportive friend. Love the new look of your blog! 🙂

  • Arlen Shahverdyan
    December 5, 2014

    Shirley, I read, admire your posts always and I follow you always and with pleasure. I only wanted more people to read and visit your blog, that’s why I think the “Like” button is important because when you like any of the author’s posts then your like is seen also among your friends, your audience and all them visit the concrete blog. i hope this opportunity will appear in your blog one day, though I understand all the technical issues of the self hosted blog and website.

    • shirleymaya
      December 5, 2014

      Thank you for your very gracious understanding and friendship. I truly appreciate it very dearly. Your comments, along with other bloggers, writers and readers’ – all make my blog and posts very concrete. Thank you again. 🙂

  • Leen
    December 10, 2014

    Wonderful blog. I stumbled across thru my friends facebook wall post.

  • Paul Bryan Cabuslay
    February 4, 2015

    Wow! Your blog inspired and awakened me to do better and come out from my shell! Truly, overcoming fears isn’t that easy but believing in your own capacities and working hard on it will make u the person u really wanted to be. Thanks shirleymaya for sharing your thoughts. Great blog of yours!

    • shirleymaya
      February 5, 2015

      Thank you for your comments, Paul. I am very humbled that my post has been helpful. Although I do not know what “coming out of your shell” means for you, I hope that it entails having a much richer and happier life. Yes, overcoming fears is never easy. I still shake and tremble each time, but it does not stop me. At the end of the day, we are all much stronger than we give ourselves credit for. And yes, we all have the tools to be greater than who we imagined ourselves to be. I wish you all the very best. Please do write back and share how you are getting along. Would love to hear your stories of overcoming your fears and coming out of your shell too. Take good care. 🙂