I’ve noticed that fear, regarding dreams, goals and big life decisions especially, seems to be something that grows as you get older. It feels like these years are making all of us more fearful of jumping. Maybe it’s life experience since we’ve seen how other people have jumped and failed… oh no that’s not it. We’ve seen other people jump and succeed many times. Haven’t we?
Fear is a part of everyone’s life. It’s a part of yours, even if you didn’t notice it, it’s still there controlling your actions, how you behave and what you do and say, some just have practised more and are better at ignoring it. It’s engraved in us, protecting us from danger. In modern life we may not encounter dangerous wild animals that could eat us but we have different things to fear.
Among other things fear keeps us from jumping off a cliff. But fear often keeps us from jumping off an imaginary cliff as well – jumping to something unknown, uncertain and new, even though we know it probably won’t kill us. It does not give a damn about your dreams and goals, and with that little guy on your shoulder you’ll never live like you’d want to. It’s keeping us alive, yet if we give it too much value, it controls our lives and makes us live like ghosts, shadows of who we could have been if we had just trusted ourselves more.
It happened to me once. I was full of dreams in high school, but due to listening to “advice” and not trusting myself and my own vision enough, I later ended up in schools I didn’t want to go to – somehow they started to look like promises that I’d never be jobless, poor, uneducated or left out. By letting these fears control me, I ignored myself and became a ghost. I didn’t want to live anymore. It has taken years to get back up, but one thing I learned the hard way was that one should always trust themselves. Even if it doesn’t work out, at least you gave it a shot and overcame your fears.
What does age have to do with it?
Why do we become more fearful as we get older, you ask? I think the answer is because we get older. Firstly, we start thinking: doubting, questioning and imagining. Secondly, we’re told to do that.
An example: children never ask for permission, until they are taught to do that. Children never think of the effects of their actions, until they are told to do so. There are so many things that are taught to us and expectations that are affecting us even when we’re not kids anymore. The older we get, the better we are expected to behave, and the less we’re allowed to “make mistakes”, or “take dumb risks” or make “stupid decisions”. Because taking action or making bold decisions is seen as risky, we’re told to think twice.
A quick but very much mandatory notion that this is the point of view of a young white woman in 2020. Maybe you feel or have felt these pressures even more than I do, or maybe you don’t recognize them at all. That’s another important discussion. But I think this is more or less relevant for everyone at some point of our lives, before we learn to trust ourselves as the leaders of our own lives.
Have you ever been told to trust yourself? Probably the opposite: we’re taught to question ourselves, and often without even paying attention to it we consult someone else before making decisions, as if other people always know what’s best for us better than we do. This is not to say that it’s wrong to ask for advice from someone. However, it’s very important to be cautious of who you’re asking it from, because…
Don’t let it take over
Have you ever been in a situation where you were perfectly calm before someone else pointed out all the things that could go wrong? Maybe you once told someone about a fantastic idea of yours, and then they asked too many questions and planted, knowingly or unknowingly, a seed of fear in your mind? Or maybe there’s no other person, maybe we do it to ourselves. Yeah, goodbye to all the excitement and hello to doubting yourself. If we would just listen to ourselves, our own intuition, we would hear it’s pushing us to some direction and we’re just fighting against it, looking for reasons to stay put instead of reasons why we should do it.
It is enough work for us to control our own fears and it’s not fair if we have to carry other people’s fears as well. They are none of our business and shouldn’t control us. However, if we let other people’s fears stop us from going for what we want, that’s entirely and absolutely on us.
It’s always up to us if we’ll listen to the fearful voices around us and in our heads, those that are always telling us what we shouldn’t do, that we shouldn’t trust ourselves and should never even try. You don’t need to listen to any of that if you don’t want to.
Instead, you should think of how much room you give to fear in your life. Are you really in danger, or would overcoming your fear improve your life? How many dreams do you push away and choose to stay put instead, because you think of all the reasons why you shouldn’t do it? How many times do you let it take over? Are you leading your life or are you led by your fears? If you don’t think about it now and take action, you might later have regrets.
You don’t even need to listen to my advice, but since you’re here, I’ll offer it to you: if it’s not hurting anybody, do exactly what you’re afraid of. There’s no way to go around it. If it’s what you really want to do, nothing else will satisfy, no matter how many excuses you present yourself. But I promise you, when you finally flip your finger to fear and just do it, you’ll see the truth: that fear is just an illusion, a cage you build for yourself.
DISCLAIMER: none of this advice applies to COVID-19. No matter what you dream of doing at this time, please stay home and think of the health of other people. Create new awesome goals and work on your dreams at home.
Are your fears standing in your way? How could you get over them? Tell me in the comments! xx
PS. Want to see me overcome my fear of heights? Watch me skydive on my YOUTUBE channel ! 😊
Healthy holidays ♡