“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” -Joseph Campbell
For much of my life, my decisions have been made through a lens of fear – fear of failure, fear of being alone, fear of following my path and purpose. Writing a book freed me in many areas of my life. I was afraid of my gift of writing. It was the only thing I felt I was good at, and I could not bear the thought of failing at the one thing I genuinely loved. And so, despite the awakening experienced, I still had doubts. I lacked the self confidence that I needed to overcome my fears. Sometimes when I would sit down to write, my body would begin to ache. I felt like I was going through withdrawals because my lack of faith was being eradicated with every word that I typed. My body was clinging on to the only “self” it had known for more than thirty-years. I was embarking on the unknown. I was venturing out into unchartered waters. I was coloring outside of the lines. Fear dominated my personal landscape.
I was finally able to write with consistency after hearing speaker Les Brown’s impactful “Death Bed” speech. In the speech, he instructs you to imagine being on your death bed and being surrounded by the ghost of the dreams you never acted on. He goes on to say that the ghosts of your unrealized dreams are angry, because they will never come to fruition and have to go to the grave with you. That speech caused me to ask myself, “Do I want to die before ever realizing my true potential? Am I going to die with these dreams still unrealized?” My answer was emphatically, “No!”
I began to ponder about the fear of dying. Is it really a fear of the unknown, or is it a fear of knowing that you never lived? I believe that for the most part, we fear taking our last breath because we never allowed ourselves to live fully. The fear of dying with my dreams unrealized caused me to finally start to live. It is in some ways ironic that fear inspired me to move mountains to achieve my dreams.
Once I realized I feared leaving dreams unrealized more than I feared failure, I awoke every morning feeling encouraged, because I expected great things to happen. Day by day my life was changing, and there was no turning back. I continued to take positive steps into my future. More and more, I began to believe in myself. I began to forgive myself. I began to love myself. I was becoming a new being. When I looked in the mirror, I barely recognized the person that I saw. I no longer felt the need for a man to complete me. I began to release the need for validation. I was coming to the realization that with God, I was whole. I let go of the fear of rejection, because I was inspired by the idea of fulfilling my potential and dreams through the authorship of this book. https://www.amazon.com/Daughter-Other-Woman-learning-persevere/dp/B08RRBPWHG/ref=sr_1_2
Overcoming my fears extended beyond my anxiety about following my passions and writing a book. It also helped me address areas of weakness in other areas of my life, like developing better financial practices. Growing up, my mother and I struggled financially for years. I recall times when collectors would call, and my mother would avoid the phone call. She often would tell me to answer the phone and that if it was a bill collector to tell them she was not home. She was afraid to face her creditors because she did not have the money to pay them.
In early adulthood, I found myself emulating my mother whenever a creditor would call me. I avoided the call at all cost. I learned to run away when faced with fear. I also would have anxiety at the end of every month because I was afraid that I would not have enough money to pay rent. I feared being evicted and, on several occasions, I received eviction notices. My fear manifested the worse possible scenarios when it came to my finances and caused me to not believe that I could manage my money. I didn’t know what proper money management looked like, but I knew and understood what it looked like to struggle. As I overcame my fears related to pursuing my passion project, I also began to overcome the fear I associated with money. I began to visualize a different outcome. I began arresting the thoughts of poverty and envisioning a life of abundance. The more I practiced positive thinking, affirmations, and visualization, the more my belief in poverty began to dissipate. My fear of financial instability was transmuted into a strong belief in my access to abundance.
Addressing my fears is a continual process, and one that I must focus on regularly. Just the other day, my son asked me if I have any fears. My answer to my son was that the only fear I have is losing someone close to me. I was afraid to give him that answer because I feared speaking it into existence. But what I have learned along this journey is overcoming my fear is that it is possible to create a healthy fear out of an unhealthy one. I realized that the only way to make my fear of losing someone I loved a healthy fear was through love. I had to admit that we all are going to die. Death is inevitable. My job is to cherish every moment and relationship with loved ones. It was my responsibility to love them with my whole heart. It was my responsibility to make sure that they know how much I love them through my actions and with my words. By making this fear a “positive” one, I realized I had the power to focus on being present with loved ones and making the time we had together count. I had to learn to not sweat the small stuff and give everyone whom I love the freedom to live their lives the way they choose to live. I began to learn to become slower to anger and quicker to show compassion and grace. The fear is still there; my reaction to it has changed.
What I learned throughout this process is that while there is no way to eliminate all fear in your life, the goal is to use fear to your advantage, as I did by using the fear of unrealized dreams to inspire me to take immediate action to pursue my passion. Healthy fear can be your friend, but you must understand the difference between unhealthy and healthy fear. When you know the difference between the two, you can transmute an unhealthy fear into a healthy fear. Conquering or transmuting fear was a huge step forward to my life transformation. I no longer believe in the idioms: “this is too good to be true” or “life is hard.” I no longer think that if life is going well that something bad is going to happen. We do not have control over a lot of things. We do not have control over the actions of other people. We do have control over our thoughts, beliefs, and our fears. We have a choice to live our lives fearfully or to live our lives fully, embracing the fear for the positive impact it can have on our lives. It is our choice.