Freedom From Fear

Freedom From Fear

Sometimes, you gotta feel it to heal it.

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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13 Things That You'll Probably Need To Do When You Don't Like Yourself Very Much

You are so valuable and loved – that's a fact, no matter what you feel.

I'm not going to pretend that this list is going to fix everything or that after doing the things on this list you'll be OK because that's simply not true.

This isn't some kind of easy fix formula for the problems of life, but maybe you'll be a little better.

And better is all we can really ask of ourselves, right? So, here we go. A list of things to do when you don't like yourself very much.

1. Make cinnamon rolls, or cookies or hot tea.

Or all three. Because #selfcare.

2. Listen to music that is actually happy, but muted happy so it doesn't just feel like nails against the chalkboard of your heart.

Personally, I love this song. It makes me feel good. But not too good. Just right.

3. Take a long shower, feel the hot water and shampoo your hair. Be thankful that you can.

Stop going through the motions, and pause to appreciate the scalding water on your skin and the smell of that new shampoo. The fact that we even have access to these things is amazing!

4. Go for a walk, seriously. Doesn't matter what time of day.

Notice the color of the leaves or the snow on the ground. Get outside of your own head. If all else fails, you might even see a dog, and then it'll all have been worth it!

5. Try making someone else happy.

Write a note to a friend and snail mail it. Go play a game with your siblings. Do something to help out your roommate. Switching the focus from yourself to others is life-changing.

6. Clean. Organize. Start small. It feels good, promise.

You may or may not feel purged and ALIVE. Speaking from personal experience here.

7. Look at the first and/or last sentence in all your books.

Don't let yourself get caught up in the progress of your story. It is a work in progress... that's how it's supposed to be. And, believe it or not, this isn't the end. Not even close.

8. Start writing your flow of thought. Maybe it'll turn into something.

OR NOT. That's fine, too. For me, writing helps me to process everything so much better. It also helps to guide my thought life. So, something I've started doing is keeping a gratitude journal of little things that make me happy. Sometimes you have to fight the negativity in your thought life. Pen and paper are kind of powerful weapons. So, use them.

9. Or draw your thoughts. Get the bad ones out. Make the good ones into something pretty, or just something that means something to you.

This is fun because if you don't like it, you can just crumple up the paper and throw it in the trash can.

10. Go to sleep.

Does this really need an explanation?

11. Make art, preferably watercolors.

It doesn't have to be impressive. Just art, because you are capable of creating. How cool is that? Like, you're kind of amazing.

12. Pray. Write your prayers out.

I could probably be hired as a promoter for prayer journals at this point because I just don't know how to shut up about them. Writing my prayers out has seriously salvaged my prayer life.

13. Flip through your Bible. Look at the underlined verses. Write them out. Speak truth to yourself.

See number eight. Same thing here about how the words we write affect the way we think. What better way for us to fight the lies about our worth and value than with the Truth?

And, in case you forgot, if you are His, Jesus loves you just as much in this moment as he did in the moment that he chose to endure the suffering and humiliation of the cross for your sake.

You are so valuable and loved — that's a fact, no matter what you feel.

Cover Image Credit: 123rf

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Why You Deserve To Be Happy

Isn't that what we all want?

I can't say I'm always happy, but who can? I try to be for the sake of other people, sometimes. In general, I'm a pretty happy and satisfied person. A few things can bring my positive mood to a halt: a bad grade, toxic people, and even a paper cut – those types of things.

As people, we're too hard on ourselves. We expect to always reach an end goal or vision within a certain timeframe, or get bullied by other people just for the sake of having "friends". Nobody wants to be unhappy, especially because sometimes we think nobody else cares about our problems. As a result, we shove those problems until it becomes unbearable to deal with.

You deserve to be happy because your pain isn't beneficial for yourself or anybody else. The more we grieve and suffer, the less we grow, the less we connect with people, and the less we push ourselves to become bigger and better versions of ourselves.

When we're miserable, we shrink into the second-rate versions of ourselves. When we're happy, we thrive, envelop, and burn brightly to light up those around us. Our lives take on a stronger and more meaningful purpose.

You deserve to be happy because there is no sense in not being yourself. The more you hide, quiver, or retreat into the quiet recesses of existence, the more you lose the chance to show off who you are. The world deserves the inspiration of people who come alive through what they hope for, the people who end up creating change, be it artistically, technically, or persistently. The world doesn’t need people half-fulfilling someone else’s dream: It needs people who are fully embodying their own, and are happy doing it.

Now, I'm not implying a need to always be happy. My point is to not be so critical and harsh on yourself. Its okay to not achieve that one test grade, or personal best. Its okay to cut off a toxic person from your life, or to be late to a class/meeting. It's okay to not stay on your diet 24/7 –say "f*** it" and eat whatever you want because it makes you a happy, well-rounded individual.

You deserve to be happy because happy people make their lives matter, and what more can we ask for than that?

Cover Image Credit: Candace Jones

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