Last week my therapist asked me a question that brought me back to one of the scariest times in my life.
She said, “What was your biggest fear when you were a child?”
My mind went completely blank. Although I had many fears when I was younger, in that moment, I couldn’t bring them to mind.
Sensing my struggle, she urged me to take a deep breath. And when I did the fear that moments before had been difficult to name bubbled to the surface.
As a kid my biggest fear was that I was going to die.
Growing up in a violent home where guns, knives and flying fists were as common as living room furniture, my fear made complete sense.
But as an adult, that fear only gets in the way.
And although I know I’m no longer in danger, I still carry that fear only now it shows up in my life in a variety of different ways.
These free floating fears, have diminished the quality of my life. And what I’ve realized is that a majority of the time, the fears that I let run wild in my head never come true.
I’ve learned what Seneca, the Roman stoic philosopher, once said is true,
We suffer more often in imagination than in reality.
Given all that I want to experience in this lifetime I know that I’ll never be able to explore these possibilities unless I deal with these fears.
Instead of letting them continue to rent space in my head for free, it’s time to put them under a microscope and see what they’re really made of.
And how do I do that?
By sitting my ass down, picking up a pen and putting every fear I carry down on paper.
This, I’ve learned, is the first step I must take in order to conquer the fears that are holding me back.
So what does this have to do with you?
Well, I’ve met enough adult children of alcoholics, friends and family of addicts and alcoholics and survivors of abuse to know that many let fear rule their lives.
They fear rocking the boat.
They fear the death of loved ones.
They fear the risk of trusting other people.
They fear losing out on life because they’re glued to the pain in their pasts.
They fear what people will think of them if they find out the truth.
And on and on.
Now the thing about fear that’s tricky is that it’s not as black and white as it appears to be.
Fear that holds you back and keeps you locked in a cage is not ideal and at the same time fear can reveal exactly the direction you need to move in to grow.
Sometimes fear is nothing more than the boundaries we’ve built around our comfort zones. And what we desire the most is typically sitting beyond those walls.
So if you want to move past those boundaries, what can you do? What’s the first step you need to take?
You sit your ass down, pick up a pen and put every fear you carry down on paper.
Once you’ve put your fears down on paper, put every angle of that fear under a mental microscope. You do this by asking yourself,
What’s the worst that can happen if this fear came true?
What’s the best thing that can happen if I move beyond this fear?
If the shit hits the fan and the worst happens who can I call on for help?
What will I miss out on in life if I let this fear continue to rule my life?
What about this fear is within my control and what isn’t?
None of what I’m suggesting here is advice that I came up with on my own. This practice of putting your fears down on paper is nothing new. But most people just think about doing it but never actually pick up a pen and do the work.
And this is the challenge that I’m presenting to you.
Instead of just reading about moving beyond your fears, I want you to take action.
Below, in the comment section share your greatest fear. The fear that is holding you back right now.
It can be about anything and involve anyone. But I want you to really take action here and write that fear, below in the comments. Be as specific and candid as you can be. The more you can get out of your head the better.
Now I realize and respect that you may want to remain anonymous and that’s totally cool.
So, if you’d like you can just share your fear with me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. I promise to keep your response 100% confidential.
The challenge is yours to take. And the good news is you don’t have to do it alone, we can do it together.
Remember your voice, experiences and insights are vital to this community. And what you have to share is not only unique but it may be exactly what someone else needs to read. And that someone could be you.
Thank you for sharing!
Until Next Tuesday,
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