During my 1st-grade choir concert, Meg Hennessey fainted from the top row of the bleachers and, in a subconscious gesture of empathy, I went down right after her, breaking my glasses and flailing on the gymnasium floor.
After that traumatic episode, I generalized my anxiety (or gesture of empathy) and passed out: during church services, in dentist chairs, and the exact second any needle pierced through my skin.
Basically, anywhere I imagined it'd be inconvenient to faint, I'd feel faint (and sometimes follow through on it). There was nothing physically wrong with me (I had several tests). I just scared myself to the point of fainting.
This anxiety escalated. I never let fear prevent me from doing things, but there was almost always inner struggles and cautious dread. And it made living in the moment very difficult.
Years went by and the anxiety spread to other situations—my health and driving.
My fear ran so deep and was so powerful that it physically controlled me.
I tried to run and hide from this fear but it didn’t work. It escalated.
But what did work was:
Leaning into it.
Breathing through it.
Caring for myself, physically and emotionally.
And guess what happened?
The clouds parted.
I saw myself undefined by fear.
I caught sight of my true potential.
These days, fear says to me:
Don’t send the email. Don’t raise your hand. Don’t sign up for that seminar. Don’t apply for that job. Don’t ask for help. Don’t take the risk.
Do all the housework yourself. Check Facebook one more time. Meditate tomorrow. It’s not perfect. Give up. Wait longer. You can’t. You won’t. You shouldn’t.
Ahhh! These words are familiar and comforting.
But when I listen to them, I realize I'm not evolving at all. I’m stuck in a place that’s keeping me from jumping and dancing and exploring—from truly living.
So fear will try to protect me and I'll refuse to let it. Because I don’t need it anymore.
We don’t need it anymore.
Can you toss fear in the trash, banishing it from your life forever?
Nope. Nada. Never.
It’ll always be with you. But what you can do and should do—is venture on despite it. You are more powerful, more amazing, more true to yourself than ever before.
If you think fear may be holding you back from something take a moment to consider what it would be like to stand up to it—to stop pretending it doesn’t exist.
And the sooner you do, the sooner you'll begin to fly.