Simply imagining words such as angst, anxiety, dread, horror, despair, panic, and failure evokes an uneasy and unpleasant emotion that we quickly run from to evade a mindset of trepidation. It can quickly lead one into an uncomfortable and apprehensive space that tunnels deeper than ever imagined where the ability to view a ray of sunshine is unimaginable and incomprehensible. This emotion sits as one of many essential emotions as it often serves as a safeguard and sometimes as an armor in a case such as avoiding committing a crime as the individual in that moment chooses not to participate in said activity, dreading the consequences that would follow. This example is more of an extreme case. In my case, I dare to explain how fear can present itself both overtly and covertly in life as we carry on daily, particularly hindering one’s ability to take risks.
Remember when you jumped on or off a merry-go-round while it spun at full speed? Or endlessly spinning around on a monkey bar using one or both hands for what you classified as control then? What about when you rode a bike without holding the handle bars while feeling the winds beating your cheeks and your throat as you grinned beyond excitement? How about when you audaciously decided to scale up a tree with combined sturdy and dwindled branches all for the sheer thrill of it? I ever so often ponder those uninhibited days where fear was not an option and attempt to burrow into that very moment to regain that vigor that was not even a thought at that moment but still find it difficult to extract from those youthful moments. But why, I ask myself now. Why the self-consciousness? Why the lack of spontaneity? Is it because of the embarrassment we choose to quietly avoid? Or in a social media-fueled world, the harsh criticisms that come with vulnerability, a true hindering factor with an ending effort leading to the elevation of fear to the utmost pedestal? As I have matured in life and walked a very dynamic journey, I have come to learn that as we get older and wiser, some of us, myself included, lose that juvenile ability to be fearless. And it comes with a cost. A cost so great that it becomes obstructing rather than facilitating in achieving our dreams and aspirations. Luckily, I have been reminded recently not only by figures in the media such as Brené Brown, who authored the book Daring Greatly, but most significantly my closest friends and family, of the power and impact of overcoming fear, leading simply to an unfathomable force of self-confidence and pride that only grows with more conquered fearful endeavors.
So, what is the challenge? My personal challenge is to go forth on a road and path less traveled paved or unpaved and embrace the smoothness and the unevenness. To purposefully insert myself into avenues that seem unattainable and unreachable proving that the challenge merely is attempting the “unachievable.” To reach out and develop and nurture new friendships, relationships, collaborations both comfortable and uncomfortable. Understanding that vulnerability is rough and will often yield numerous instances of uneasiness and distress. To mindfully rediscover that space where without reserve, I willingly swung my hands in the air cheerfully riding a bicycle, not anticipating the fall to come, but rather enjoying the moment that was, yet knowing that if I fell, I would easily and patiently allow the abrasion to heal, while calmly conjuring up the next adventure to partake in. This is how I will combat the power of fear as I delve into this new chapter in this thing we call life.