The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. -Franklin D. Roosevelt
In most of my posts I have talked about mindfulness, letting go, love and things of that nature. Today, I would like to talk about fear. Fear is a nature part of human nature. It is an instinct we developed back when we roamed on the Savannah trying not to be eaten by Saber-tooth tigers and other predators. The “Fight or Flight” response. This is also why we have stress and that sort of thing. Now, granted that was quite a bit of time ago and most of us don’t really have to worry about being eaten or killed by some animal. Yet we still have our fears intact.
Technically, the only fear we are born with is a fear of heights. So, the rest of our fears have become conditioned by our surroundings. We learn by example. A perfect example is my dad hates lima beans. This man is almost 60 and still hates them, and so when I was little I said I didn’t like them either. Why? Because my dad said they were gross and so I thought “well if he thinks so then they must be!” Thank god I like them now, but you get the point. Other times we fear things because we have had something traumatic happen when we did certain things. Kind of like little Albert from that experiment where they made loud noises when he touched something white and fluffy. It’s completely irrational, but it is still fear.
Most of our fears are indeed irrational and so it often leaves us feeling helpless, misunderstood and stuck. One of the biggest ones I have is the fear of failure. Failing is never a good feeling, nor is the disappointment and taunting from others and yourself when you are not able to complete a task. So, for the longest time i just didn’t try. I refused to try at all and because of that I thought I would avoid being mocked, the disappointment from others and just stay in my little bubble where it is safe and sound. It prevented me from getting through college, learning to drive a car, get out of an abusive relationship or do anything for myself. I was utterly stuck. I hated it too, but at the time I didn’t understand what I was doing to myself or the people I was hurting with my actions.
Finally it just hit me one day… “Why am I letting this hold me back?” First thing was getting my license (which I did at 19), then I went back to school for a little while and finally I broke up with my abusive boyfriend (that took a bit longer than a year to fully do, but that is another story). I also got a job being a nanny and things just blossomed from there. I have still had my pitfalls and steeps backwards since then, but no one is perfect. The most important thing is to keep trying and not to give up. that is another big reason of why I started this blog in the first place.
I have always been scared to start a blog and speak my opinion, even though I have been writing for years. I just thought I wasn’t good enough, didn’t have enough time, no one would read it, ect ect ect. ALL EXCUSES!!! I am sick of excuses not just from others, but from myself. This is why this year I am saying “Yes” and not letting opportunities pass me by. Am I scared? Well of course I am scared! If I wasn’t scared then I would probably be doing something wrong! Regardless, I am doing the best I can with what I got right now. That is all I can do.
So what exactly made me do a 180 from my old habits? Well, yoga was the first step. While I wasn’t in school, jobless and carless I saw a yoga program on TV. I had gained quite a bit of weight (50 lbs to be exact) from being totally stressed out of my mind via the relationship I was in and thought, “well why not?” and just jumped right in. I was familiar with the practice, but never in the flow style. It made me try my best and even if I fell out of the pose or on my face, it was ok. That is what practice is for. I did that every single day for a few months. It changed me from the inside out and everyone took notice. I started to eat healthier, my posture was better, I lost a little bit of weight, I started reading more books, and I even started to be calmer and put myself first.
The next step was reading a few books. These books have changed my life and I highly recommend them to anyone no matter what their situation is. You can always get something from them, they are as follows:
- If the Buddha Got Stuck
- Breakfast With Buddha
- The Tao of Pooh
- The Te of Piglet
- The Tibetan Book of the Dead
- The Bhagavad Gita
- Kundilini Yoga
- Plato and a Platypus walk into a Bar
Those are just a few of my absolute favorites. I still reread them from time to time when I feel like I need to. All of them are nonfiction minus the 2nd one. It is amazing how reading someone-else’s work can inspire you in your own life. Go pick one of them up at your local new or used bookstore, and then share it with others. You will be glad that you did.
Finally, the final step was having support. I am so thankful for my friends because they helped me through so many issues and been their for me when I needed it most. they did not care what I looked like, how I thought or my emotional baggage; all they wanted was for me to be happy and supported me through my decisions…even though some of them were ill advised. My family helped a little as well, but that is something I am still working on. Like I said, no one is perfect.
those were my steps and your steps might be a bit different than mine, but that is alright because we all have our own paths in life. If we were all the same then we wouldn’t have as many issues as we do. I just hope my story and advice might be able to give you some clarity and incite on your own life. And hey, if one of the books I recommended helps you out then more power to you! So no matter how great or small our fears are, we can always move through them; Regardless if its a distaste for lima beans or getting yourself to actually be ok with yourself. Namaste!