Growing up, we, like most children, had the trinity of basic fears: monsters, the dark, and being alone. They were the things that nightmares were made of so we did everything to avoid them. We would come up with reasons as to why our parents should let us sleep in their beds, made sure the bulbs in our night lights were always working, and stayed away from any scary movie or mask that would trigger our fears more. The power we gave our fears caused us to lose sleep, dread the very idea of darkness, and made us paralyzed while we'd lie alone in our beds.
As the years went by and life began to lose its wonder, we realized that the monsters we feared were under our beds changed locations and compositions. They claimed residence in the real world, our mirrors, and deep within our innermost thoughts. The terror associated with Freddy, Jason, and Hannibal Lector proved to have nothing on the horrors of our personal failures, hindsight, unattainable expectations, and negative self talk. It seems we’ve subconsciously created and become the monsters we feared long ago.
Somehow we found ourselves in a dark place alone, scared, and looking for someone to wake us. Guilty of walking through a life of abundance yet being too proud and competitive to see it, we began to lose that humble light source within us. The fictitious fairy tale dream world we tried to create only turned us and our reality into a living nightmare. So now here we are, a shell of what we once were and a mold of what we ought to become. We’re so uncomfortable and feel desperate for the solution but just like a dream, it seems like no one can really hear us. No one can tell that behind that seemingly sleeping beauty is a whirlwind of terror, running, and fret. We have to find a way to not only wake up, but also release it all.
We obsess about things we cannot change. We struggle and prolong suffering because we don’t allow ourselves to let go of negative situations, people, and experiences. However, we have no problem helping other people sort out their loads. Our ability to easily forgive the people around us somehow doesn’t transfer when we are needing to forgive ourselves of our sins, shortcomings, and inadequacies. We show ourselves no mercy, no compassion, and dwindle our hope to the point of exhaustion. Our failure to remember that behind our low self esteem lies a very powerful person is the very thing that keeps us stuck. We are our own worst enemies, but we also have the ability to be our greatest healers if we put enough energy into it. It’s about who and what we’re giving our power to.
The unique property of fear's power is that as much as it can cause stress and a variety of negative effectss, it can also be used as a force to propel you. When we experience things that shake us, yes the fear can be numbing and trick us into thinking that we will never recover, but it can also make us determined to never regress to that point again and catapult us in a more aggressive, purpose driven direction. The choice is ultimately ours if we want to crumble or cultivate.
They say we should not feed the fear. Don’t feed the anxiety, depression, and paranoia because it makes them stronger and harder to overcome. We have to dive into our darkness, face our demons, and recharge in our isolation to grow from it. We have to face our fears. That sounds lovely, but how are we expected to do that when we are deathly afraid of something? How are we expected to just tackle things that make our stomachs churn and hearts pound out of our chest? Unfortunately, there is no set answer for every situation but the avenue that seems to bring the best results is working on ourselves from the inside out. We need to give every good and nurturing ounce of energy to ourselves and quit wasting it on what we don’t want and people/things that are draining us more. We have to teach ourselves to take our power back. Self care, expression, and faith are imperative. It's extremely challenging to do but it’s undoubtedly our saving grace.
It's said that we can't control what we see in the world but we can control how we see them. Those mountains may always be there, we may never like to be around those people, and we may still have mental and emotional struggles, but the burdens seem lighter when we can better face and understand ourselves. When we can finally look in the mirror and not see brokenness but a resilient human being, we realize that the solitude, darkness, and storms we've been so scared of weren’t here to destroy us. They were here to enlighten us, condition us, prune us, and turn our fear into faith.
Fear tells me that things will never be the same but this growth mindset reminds me that I don't want them to be. The same fear that froze me is being used to free me.