We are each, in some way, holding ourselves back.
Fear plays a role in our lives equally crucial and detrimental. It’s always there, waiting in the wings if not centre stage in our mind.
Ultimately, fear is trying to help. And it does. It stops us from casually strolling off a cliff, investing in bad business decisions, and protects us from embarrassment and humiliation. Mostly.
However, it also safeguards us (and the rest of the world) from our own selves. It prefers safety, comfort and contentment. Discomfort, uncertainty and risk-taking are not acceptable, and it will work hard to ensure we don’t go down these paths.
If we allow it, fear can—and will—consume us.
I think of fear as a ‘dark force’ – it has the power to operate without our full awareness, covertly derailing our lives (and our work) from the shadows, under the clever disguise of self-preservation.
This is what scares me most.
Though we may think we understand our fears (and are ready to face them head on), the natural desire to avoid fear is likely preventing us from taking meaningful steps toward it.
The biggest and most important step toward over-coming fear is acknowledging it.
Of course, shining a light on fear is one of the most challenging and courageous choices we can make. It is a process not to be rushed, and must be treated with care, patience and kindness.
However, remember also the release; the emancipation and elation to be found in the simple acknowledgement and understanding of our fear. For in doing so, we reclaim control over our mind and our own reasoned choice; no longer will fear withhold the meaningful contributions we would gift to the world.
The fear of not.
Fear will always play a role. It must. We’re not machine, we’re human. Fear is a normal, necessary part of it all. If we’re aware, mindful and a little clever, it can be harnessed and used for our own benefit.
For me, fear plays a crucial role in creativity. It is the fear of not; the fear that I may accept comfort and contentment, and will stop exploring, discovering and creating. Ironically, this it quite comforting to me. I know that the fear of not is too great for me to ever stop driving forward. As long as I’m breathing, I will strive to learn, create & grow. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
And knowing this, it makes it much easier to act not out of fear, but out of excitement, truth and wonder.