What If You Weren’t Afraid?

Fear dictates a lot of what we do, say, and don’t. Over the years, my husband and I have peeled back the face of harsh words, avoidance, and everything in between to lay bare this tyrant in the heart. The things I want from him will often lead back to my fear of finding myself out in the cold with hat in hand. In those moments I’m the little girl her parents let down, even while I now understand that they had done their best. Holistic Husband will hesitate to share with me what he really thinks, afraid of rejection. I am short with my boy for shedding clothes outside because I am afraid he will get sick. Not a 100 pounds, I could not relate to anyone with eating disorders. Until a few years ago when I showed myself I could overeat. I knew better. I was the health and nutrition consultant among moms, with over a decade of study under her belt. The worst thing you can do with your food is do too much of it. I realized something wild. Though my husband spared no expensive to meet our needs, the compulsive eating started from fear of going hungry.

There are many things we hold back from trying, scared to fail. We worry about what others will think and end up spouting dumb words or holding back when we should speak up. The wind of peer pressure blows on our kids everyday, right through the morning window when they decide what to wear before pushing them toward and away from other kids.

How would these things look different in your life, if you were not afraid?

Your relationship with your sweetheart
How you parent
The people you tend to befriend
The relational boundaries you draw
How passive or aggressive you are in conflict
How often you say no
How and why you study
What you would say in a job interview
Where you work
How you work, the hours you put in
Your relationship with your self, in exercise or ways you nurture your body and spirit
Your eating
Your career
Your blogging
Your art
Your dance
How and what you write
What you buy
The goals you set
Add your own.

Feel free to think before getting back to me.

182 thoughts on “What If You Weren’t Afraid?

  1. “I loved your reference to the Bible in the first few comments: “perfect love casts out fear”. Let me add one thing to it – I find love is more easily recalled through gratitude πŸ™‚

      • Well, focusing on what I’m grateful for has really helped me. I’m not saying fear goes away, but it’s edge is taken away because you see how much we are given; that the world is a pretty positive place despite its negatives. We know it intellectually, but feeling it is what I call love. Love of God is not very different from what I speak about here; to love the world and give thanks for it is also to love its creator.

      • I cannot resist noting that the way you consistently end with thanks is a good example of what I was trying to say – it shows me that you like your readers. Thanks is indeed a language of love. And one easy indicator of a person who is not in love is the absence of thanks.

      • “And one easy indicator of a person who is not in love is the absence of thanks.”

        Love it. Because it’s a truth that applies in all circumstances.

        Here I go-o-o-o: ThaNks!

      • That was keen of you to notice, but I actually LovE my readers. As I explained in the recent Do You Love Your Blog post. =)

        I am tempted to thank you for your time and support but I think you got it. πŸ˜‰

  2. I have found that fear is at the root of almost every negative emotion. Anger, jealousy, etc. and the stronger the fear, the stronger the emotion that masks it. The tricky thing is figuring out what your afraid of, and addressing that, instead of the ‘masking’ emotion. And that’s very hard to do, especially at the time it’s occurring. As someone who has been limited in one way or another by fear for as long as I can remember, I’ve had to do a lot of thinking on this subject. Haven’t come up with any good answers, but I’ve thought about it exhaustively.

    Loving your blog πŸ™‚

    • Thanks for the follow, KK. Well, the thing is, there’s really nothing new under the sun. People are people, and we pretty much struggle along universal themes while we play them out in our original-looking dysfunctions. Fear of losing control (or losing the delusion of it), fear of losing loved ones, of being alone…and on and on. The comments on this blog are pretty amazing (eh hem…you can go look in the mirror) =). Really enlightening, if you ever get the chance.

      HW

      • Thanks, HW πŸ™‚ I’ve definitely enjoyed what I’ve read so far!

        So far, I have found the most interesting/fascinating thing about ‘fear’ is its ability to masquerade itself as something else (emotion-wise) so well that it often requires close inspection of the hows, whats and whys to even realize that fear is at the root of the masking emotion. There have been times that I’ve actually discovered this in my own reactions and had my mind completely blown away. I find this most often true in cases of anger, for me at least.

        The human brain is an amazing and tricky thing πŸ™‚

      • “β€˜fear’ is its ability to masquerade itself as something else (emotion-wise) so well that it often requires close inspection of the hows, whats and whys to even realize that fear is at the root of the masking emotion.”

        Excellent. And yEs. Anger is never the root but the face of shame or fear.

      • Agreed, except in cases of TRUE ‘righteous’ anger, I haven’t been able to find fear at the base of anger on behalf of someone other than yourself, such as child/animal/elder abuse, etc. I think anger on behalf of those who cannot protect themselves, or who have been victim of senseless violence, while may contain a fear of this situation happening to oneself or loved one, or the fear that there are people in this world who can commit such heinous acts, the fear is not the impetus behind the anger, I believe love/caring actually is.

        But another perspective on this is always welcome! πŸ™‚

      • “I believe love/caring actually is.”

        Mmmm. Great point. In the case where a loved one, esp a dependent is concerned – like my boy – fear would still attend the righteous, loving anger. Fear in the face of helplessness, the reminder that I’m not in control, that I am impotent to have protected him or failed to and might fail again, that he will not recover fully, etc.

        Did I convince you we’re full of fear? LOL

        WONDerful talking with you. Glad you found your seat. Hope the purple throw is nice and comfy. Purple good for the liver – to look at and wear.

  3. I feel that the question of how you would do things differently if you were not afraid is difficult to answer as one fear resolved in one person may not ne resolved in the other amd vice versa. .
    A lot of our current actions are based on our previous experiences and our upbringing with a large dollop of passed down learnt traits from our parents.

    It again in my opinion however all boils down to being confident in ones self. To then be able to be confident to make decisions based on what I want. The next question then is are you going to use that new found confidence and in effect power to help you or to help others. In my opinion a lot of this is psychology. Behavioural amd psychodynamic approaches conjoined. I cannot for one minute personally say I have it all straight. I don’t. I know however that for every weakness you have and envy me for my approach to it?: I would find strengths in you which I lack and aspire to adopt your way of thinking for those aspects.

    This is why friends are important and opposite mentality friends attract for this very reason in that they allow you to open up and share your thoughts to gauge how one another would adapt to a certain situation. More than likely you’ll probably find in this aspect that both responses are two poles apart from one another and both good in moderation so it is to find that balance.

    The eating you speak of is in my opinion a learnt condition in certain situations and to unlearn it or replace with something else is the key. O don’t claim however that this is easy at all. Same with drinking. . Smoking. . Any kind of habit as it were. One thing to make the problem or challenge better though? Treat it as just that. A challenge. . Your mind is powerful andwe can achieve anything! Fear of failure isn’t a problem, its regret of never having tried to combat in the first Place.

    Osu

    Matt

    • Matt, you leave treasure here. I appreciate every gold strand of thought.

      “one fear resolved in one person may not ne resolved in the other amd vice versa.” Well, yes, but the ques is posed to each reader so every reader can answer only for himself, herself. And what we largely inherit from our parents and out of our upbringing is…fear. I do appreciate your reminder on the value of community in this context. And eating is something I have given great thought to. I respect your perspective on that.

      Thanks for your time. Such a pleasure meeting you, Matt.

      Diana

      • My personal fear and hence possibly not being able to answer your question fully without proper thought maybe due to my fear of not knowing what the future holds for me and for that I must fight on. I must look at what is in front of me and tackle everything one short step at a time. If I try and do this then the mountains will walk themselves. I hope I didn’t cause any offence with any of my thoughts and it is a true pleasure to speak with you today.

        Our paths shall cross again in the blogging world and I hope to swap ideas with you in the future and meet that idealistic middle, friend.

        Until next time Diana

        Osu

        Matt

      • Of course you did not offend in any way, M.

        In light of your confessions, I share something from the recesses of my own truth: I realized last yr that MMA appealed to me because it resonated with the fighting my life is every single day.

        Enough said.
        Talk soon.

        D.

  4. Guilt has taken the best of me after having read some comments here reflecting the value found in gratitude. I had forgotten to thank for visiting my blog. If not too late I would love to say, “thank you,” for investing (part of) your time in my blog. Thank you for a thought-provoking post. Thank you for possessing academic and linguistic intelligence.

    • I thought you were referring to thanking your parents or friends for something big. =) I do pour all of myself into this blog in the hopes of making every visit worthwhile for you. So I appreciate the commendation and feeling valued. And yes, the comments minister to me powerfully. I will go so far as to say I find this place amazing for what my community has done to it.

  5. Thank you for stopping by my blog and also for this post. My wife and I were having a conversation about this very issue last night. Fear can be petrifying if allowed, but as one of the commenters above noted, it is all about confidence and using that confidence to overcome fears that do nothing but keep us from living life the way we wish or doing things we wish to do. And the list is provocative. I know what I will be thinking about today!

    Thank you again,
    Pat

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  9. Yes – wisdom to be found here. Fear is indeed what we should fear most, unless it is a fear of the LORD, Who is the One Who holds life and eternity. Thanks for sharing!

  10. This is a great question- with other great questions following. The questions themselves seem freeing. One thing I hVe started thinking more about is that we do have choices. We do. At least some of the time, in some areas, to some degree. We can start somewhere. Thank you for caring so much about your readers!

    • So sweet. Just love the feedback: “freeing”. You’re right on with the choices. Something I’ve been reminded of lately, something you all have talked with me about the last several months!

      Xxx
      Diana

  11. I often ponder on the similarity of fear and desire…really… sometimes if feel as if it is like potatoe/potato….simply a definition to a reaction…to an experience…..they are the medium to our canvas….the tools for which we create our masterpiece…this masterpiece of life…..driven by one or the other…but so commonly can be mistaken for one another……i suppose the secret is to find a nice balance….much peace my lady !

      • Ah, the wild creature we are! So fickle, so driven by madness as we meander through the chaos of existence. Controlling fear …controlling desire….such a daunting task…as it is these two that define this illusion. Yet controlling either, certainly a step toward attaining a glance at the root….but to pluck the root…control is not the goal….but to accept and smile….and not give importance…to let go.

        To desire control (ying), is to fear control (yang). Hence the quagmire.

        I have found that ultimately it is acceptance, a grin, and letting go is the balance to the polarity.

        Much peace to you my friend.

  12. It’s strange that what we fear holds us back out of fear yet without the big F there might be nothing to fear at all. I have often found it useful to do that exercise, the one where I ask myself what am I afraid of? then to take it deeper… okay so if that happens then what… and then if that happens then what…. it’s a great dissolver that often shows that the fears are not real.

  13. I believe the key to fighting and overcoming fear is having something that will snap you back in the reality. Many times we imagine the worst possible scenarios of what might happen even tough most of that will never come to be. For me, fighting those thoughts starts with thinking of some really hard an dark periods in life and than the fact that those passed, that we found a way to overcome them. I also tell myself that everything happens for a reason and the mere fact that I don’t see good side of it at that moment, doesn’t mean it does not exist. And to finish my rambling, the quote I really love about fear (of failure) by Erin Hanson: “What if I fall? Oh, but my darling what if you fly?”

    • Sounds like a path to a delicious peace of mind. =) I really like this:

      “and the mere fact that I don’t see good side of it at that moment, doesn’t mean it does not exist.” Yes, I love that quote. Thank you so much for the input.

      HW

  14. It is not fear that holds me back but truth, the truth that within the shell of public acceptability I am less the warm and social human and more the stone cold merc that cares not for this world, such words I would speak like a razor to the years of effort to build an image/persona that others won’t find too hard to accept.

    There are few that I can truly be the creature of dark inspiration around, and even for them I hold back the poison barbs of my true nature.

    The biggest fear I have is that I will never find someone who will accept me for who I am, and love me for it in a way I can build a life upon, in short ‘A poison to match my own’.

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  16. In my dance I am the gentle lady who meets others in their pain and I rest my hand on their brows and take away their sorrow. In my dance I am the shy girl, who likes to skip and pirouette, badly, and play hopskotch with the patterns that I glean on the floor. I play with the patterns on the floor because I feel it is easier to do this, to dance alone, with the patterns on the floor than to try and dance with another human being who is less friendly, less loving, less attractive. I never judge but since I have been to dance class I feel I am judged because really I am the Medusa, I am the woman with deep deep secrets who sometimes lets them our in her dance. The secrets scare others, they look the other way, they feel inadequate, they don’t know what to say. They feel threatened, they feel challenged, they feel not sexy enough, they feel their boyfriend would prefer the Medusa to them. Oh, how to be oneself with no fear and still relate to others. I am ready for new friends now, new adventures, new hobbies, a new job. The veil of fear has been lifted and I am naked and alone. I am going to write my body with words. I am going to play with sounds, perhaps sing them so I can feel the vibration go out into the universe in a melody of loving kindness. I want the world to play a little more, to love a little more, to know it’s own mind a little more. I forgive my past and look forward to my present. My present is me, to myself, at long last. Octavio Paz has a poem ‘Time that half-opens the eyelids And sees us, letting itself be seen.”

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