Fear. It’s complicated; it can be positive as well as negative. A positive fear is one that steers us away from harm. It keeps us from entering a hungry lion’s den – and likewise the “not so nice” people’s den. The other fear, the negative one, can paralyze us into inaction and prevent us from chasing our dreams.
If we’re honest, we’re all afraid of something, maybe even lots of things. When I look back on my life, there have been many times I’ve been afraid. Sometimes it’s with good reason. But mostly because I let that monster in my head get big and take over. So who is this monster? She’s the fear of rejection, failure, being laughed at, feeling stupid, not being liked, feeling alone and, in short, caring what others think.
I’m not particularly fond of fear, especially when it stops me from moving forward. This blog is an example. It took years to take the plunge and launch it. I decided the excitement and passion I had for fashion and writing outweighed my fear of rejection. But I won’t lie, if someone doesn’t like my work it still stings a bit. Being true to one’s self can sometimes be a lonely venture.
I’m reminded of a ballroom competition several years ago when I wasn’t feeling prepared. A few things went sideways, but isn’t that life? Unfortunately, the more I focused on my fears the worse it got. I had literally blown this competition up to colossal proportions. The monster got in my head and I was having a hard time getting free from her. Having a conversation with myself about what the real problem wasn’t easy. It required brutal honesty and the truth is often hard to bear.
What it came down to was fear. I was afraid of looking stupid as I imagined myself wavering around the huge ballroom floor. In short, I was afraid of failing. Considering this, I was disappointed in myself because neither of these reasons should have had voice. Yet, many of us give way to them. We stop before we even start, because we allow that monster to hold us back.
Some women claim they don’t care what others think and I’ve said it too. But I think most of us will always care – at least to some degree. Overcoming the monster means deciding to act in spite of caring what others may think. Courage is the willingness to risk rejection, failure, being laughed at, feeling stupid or alone, not the absence of fear.
We can put that monster in a box with a lid on it if we’re true to ourselves. We just need the courage to choose fulfillment over fear. Be the lioness!