It took me a really long time to work up the courage to even start writing this post.
In November, I landed on a name for the blog and bought the domain. That was huge. I was SO excited. I got the logo and made so many plans in my head. Then… I panicked. I was petrified that no one would give a shit about what I had to say, so I didn’t say anything.
In January, I started my Instagram page. That was huge for me, too but a baby step compared to actually launching the blog. And even with that step, it still took me three solid months to begin typing this.
And you know what my biggest problem was? Looking at what everyone else was doing. Trying to follow a formula that probably works for some people, but didn’t feel right for me. What would my first post be about? What voice should I use? Ummm, isn’t it obvious that I should use my OWN voice and write about what I know and what I’m learning? Duh.
So that’s what this blog will be. Stuff I care about that I think you’ll care about, too. Shit that balances us, makes us think, scares us, and maybe even creeps us out a little bit.
For this first post, let’s talk about … facing our fucking fears.
Obviously, not starting this blog was because of a big, stupid fear of mine. Rooted in nothing, yet everything at the same time. My “rational” mind begged me not to put myself out there. It said, “what if they don’t like you?” It said, “what if you fail?” It told me I couldn’t do it. And I believed it.
And so week after week turned into month after month of not writing. Being paralyzed by the fear of failure. If I didn’t write, I couldn’t fail. Right? Wrong. I failed myself every day I didn’t do what I really wanted to do. Every single day that I went to work, did school work and just put off writing for another day, I failed myself.
The thing about fear is that it stops you from taking a look at yourself because of what you might find. It stunts your growth by eliminating vulnerability. Which might sound enticing except for the fact that you become stuck. And too often we think being stuck feels better than the unknown. Hey, at least we’re comfortable. But without a little discomfort, growth is next to impossible.
It also makes us afraid of other people. Whether it’s the people closest to us because we’re scared to disappoint them or let them see the real us. Or the people we admire because we are scared we will never be as successful, happy, thin, (insert desired trait here). Or even complete strangers because to us, their lives are mysterious and must be better than ours. They don’t even know us and we think they’re judging us!
Facing our fears (even small ones) is hard. There’s no denying that. But if you can push past the uncomfortable phase and live in the moment instead of constantly worrying about the future or what other people will think of you, the rewards are almost unimaginable.
Take a Look at Your Fears
I came across this exercise once in a stress management class that helps you look at your irrational fears and realize that they are, in fact, irrational. 4 “easy” steps.
- First, list your fear. What are you afraid of?
- Next, write down the worst possible scenario that could happen if that fear were to come true.
- Then list all the reasons that scenario is unlikely to actually happen.
- Now, write the scenario that would ACTUALLY probably happen if your fear were to come true.
I thought this was so powerful and in the spirit of vulnerability, I’ll give you the example of a fear of mine that I used in this exercise. Looking at it now, I don’t know how this fear was even something I was holding on to. It was IRRATIONAL and rooted in absolutely no truth.
- Fear: Losing my job, not being able to find another one and having no money.
- Worst Case Scenario: I lose my job and get no severance. I can’t find another job. I have to sell all of my belongings and still can’t pay rent. I lose my apartment and end up in a homeless shelter.
- Reasons it Wouldn’t Happen: There are no immediate reasons I could think of that I would lose my job in the first place. I have marketable skills that would enable me to find another job pretty quickly. I have a strong support system and my family wouldn’t let me end up on the street.
- Realistic Scenario: Even if I were to lose my job tomorrow, my skills are transferable and I would probably be able to find another job quickly. It’s also unlikely that I wouldn’t get any severance. If it took longer than a couple weeks to find another job in my field, I would work at a restaurant to hold me over until I found one. My family would likely help me out with rent until I was able to get back on my feet. I may have to sacrifice some of the things I enjoy to save money, but eventually I would be able to resume them.
You guys, I have no idea why this was a fear of mine. I have literally never even been fired from a job before. When you look at your fear written down like that, it can seem so silly. When you force yourself to think about all the things you have instead of the things you lack, your perception changes for the better.
This exercise can be used with pretty much any fear you have. If fear is holding you back, I really encourage you to try it. And just know that nothing has to happen over night. Change does not have to be rapid to be powerful. I have personally changed so much over the past couple years that when I think back to who I was, I almost can’t recognize myself. All my fears and doubts about myself and my abilities were crushing me and keeping me in a place where I sulked in it. Being unhappy and pessimistic became my personality. But that’s not who I am and I don’t think it’s who any of us are really supposed to be. With that said, we all have bad days. One day does not define you, just don’t let it turn into your permanent state.
Deciding to not be scared and sad and pissed at the world every minute of every day improved my outlook more than I can say. It made my relationship with my boyfriend, friends, co-workers and family so much better. Most importantly, it allowed me to have a real relationship with myself. When you have that, you can truly be a light for others. I hope to be that for all of you.
Thank you so much for reading. If you try this exercise, let me know how it goes!
Face your fears, bitches!