Freedom From Fear

Freedom From Fear

Sometimes, you gotta feel it to heal it.
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One of my favorite questions to ask someone is “what is your greatest fear?”

I love this question for a few reasons and one of them is because of the range of responses I typically get.

Another reason is that I think how a person responds to this can say a lot about them. People typically respond on one of two sides of the spectrum: a somewhat funny fear that they laugh about having or an incredibly deep and intense fear of isolation or loss.

For example, sometimes people tell me they’re afraid of clowns or mismatched socks.

Other times, people say they’re afraid of the dark, heights or getting stuck in elevators.

And then there’s always those who say they’re afraid of things they’ve never lived through before, like death.

I’ve learned/been told that the best way to get rid of fear is through desensitization.

“You gotta feel it to heal it” essentially.

In other words, if you’re scared of flying on planes, start by at least going to the airport.

Then, the next time, maybe walk inside of the airport.

After that, try watching the planes out of the window inside of the airport.

Subsequently after these steps, begin moving closer and closer to actually going inside of a plane and eventually, after you’ve successfully conquered all of these steps, you might be able to fly on a plane and feel okay about it.

This has always made sense to me until I realized that you can’t exactly desensitize yourself to the grander fears such as loss, failure or death.

This realization fascinated me because if the best way to get over a fear is to continually expose yourself to that fear, how can you overcome a fear where continual exposure is not necessarily an option?

I don’t have an answer for this but I thought that maybe writing about it would help form some thoughts or understanding on the subject.

Fear is somewhat inevitable, necessary and healthy to a degree. Fear is an unpleasant emotion that keeps us alive and in tune with what in our environment could be a dancer or a threat.

However, when fear becomes the guiding voice in our head instead of a fight or flight instinctual response in certain situations, we become prisoners to that fear.

One of my favorite questions to ask myself about fear is “do I positively know that this fear is true and that I have reason to be fearful of it?”

Usually, the answer is “no” because most of these fears are fleeting. They’re fleeting because they never happen.

At the end of the day, I find that fear is nothing more than an obstacle. An obstacle that we put in front of ourselves.

This is good news though because that means we have the power and control to remove that obstacle since we are the ones who put it there in the first place.

Don’t let the fear of what could happen, make nothing happen.

Cover Image Credit: Sophia Winter

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
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Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things. If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity towards this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you, if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs. In a world where a six figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm..

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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Don't Rely On Others For Happiness

It's so cliche but happiness does come from within.

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My fatal flaw is that I tend to rely on my friends and family a lot for mental and emotional support and that's not fair to anyone.

I was really unhappy for the longest time. I mean, I was in a relationship, going to work, hanging out with my friends; I did everything a young twenty-something-year-old should be doing but for some reason, I was never happy.

Every quiet moment alone was hard. I avoided 'alone time' at all costs and the best way to do that was to be with other people constantly.

I worked almost 50 hours a week like a maniac. By the time I got home, I was so exhausted that my alone time was just the 7 hours of sleep in my bed. It was easy to keep up the routine when I was motivated to stay busy. I love being busy, it gives me purpose. I didn't realize at the time that I was keeping busy to avoid bigger issues at hand. I thought that by surrounding myself with people I love would help bring my mental health and spirits up -- I ended up dragging others down.

This may sound really crappy and I'm only saying this out of personal experience but being around someone who is constantly sad, unhappy and unmotivated can be very draining and it gets emotionally tiring. Eventually, you just can't handle being around that person anymore.

I was that person.

Sure I was at work doing my duties but my co-workers were less and less enjoying my company and I started seeing my friends fewer times in the week. I came to realize that it wasn't anyone else's responsibility to make me feel better other than my own.
Of course, my friends tried to help. They did the best way they could, by just being there but it is not their responsibility to take care of me. Putting pressure on those who aren't actually trained professionals of mental health is unfair. My friends didn't know how to handle me and when they started distancing, I couldn't blame them because I probably would have done the same.

Self-love comes from within. Learning how to love yourself starts with YOU. You have to motivate yourself to do something different, to go outside, to read a book to learn something new. I realized that my energy and how I carried myself affected the people surrounding me and I wasn't ok with how the situation was unfolding.

I understand that change is hard. Since I am a very routine person, it was extra hard for me to come out of my comfort zone. Once I did, everything started looking up.

Reaching out for help is one thing but relying on others to fix you and your problems is another. It's ok to ask for support, to ask for help when you're lost but be considerate of those you're pulling into your situation. Everyone has problems and dumping yours on someone else's is never ok.

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