Fear is a word that I’ve been intimately familiar with for most of my life. I’ve always been afraid of something. When I was a kid, it was of not being “cool”. In high school and college, it usually revolved around girls and still not being cool. And in adulthood, it became a fear of inadequacy.
About two years ago, I chose to stop letting fear dictate my life decisions. It was always centered around how other people viewed me and my feelings about that. And that lead me down some paths that I shouldn’t have chosen.
For a while, I wasn’t sure what role fear played in my life. I wasn’t ready to claim that I lead a fear-free life. There were still things that I avoided because I didn’t want to do them. And while I wasn’t doing them despite not caring what other people thought of the decision, there still stood the fact that I wasn’t doing them.
I’ve been drifting in a malaise of uncertainty for those couple years, telling myself I was being a “free spirit”. It wasn’t that I didn’t have goals, more that I was letting the universe guide me. And maybe that’s why I’m here now, asking the question.
How do you overcome fear when your biggest fear is yourself?
My fears became internal. I don’t hear the voices questioning my decisions anymore. It’s my life, not theirs. But what happens when the voice of judgment that I fear hearing is my own?
“Fear plays an interesting role in our lives. How dare we let it motivate us? How dare we let it into our decision-making, into our livelihoods, into our relationships?”~Robert California, The Office
I’ll use my career as an example. Recently, I’ve started applying at other jobs. My current job is unsatisfactory to my true self and I want a change. That said, I also want to move to Colorado “soon” (within a couple years).
So I’ve struggled with finding a job that is both fulfilling to me now, while also planning how to leave this job that I don’t have. And it’s wrapped me in self-doubt because I don’t want myself to feel this moral conundrum.
What happens if I love my new job? That will make it harder to leave. I know myself well enough, I could end up there forever. At a job that I love in a city I hate.
What happens if I fail? Can I overcome the feeling that doing something I love didn’t bring me any sort of measured success? Will that bring my depression back around to confront once again?
What happens if I succeed? What happens if it all goes off without a hitch, I move, and I love Colorado? Now there are expectations. You made the big move, you got yourself to a place that you’ll love, how does that affect you?
I’ve been in my own head about how much happier a change of scenery would make me, what if it doesn’t translate? Or what if I become successful to a level that I’ve never entertained?
It’s all pressure. And as someone who is an over-thinker, on top having been through depression before, THAT is what scares the shit out of me. I’ve been unknowingly comfortable in my complete neutrality of life.
A neutral life carries no weight. There are no expectations to rise to, or fall short of. You just…are. And maybe the fear of being neutral is enough to force my hand.