"But we let them," I said.
"Yes. But now I want it back."
~snippet of a conversation I had with my best friend last night
Photo via Wikimedia Commons
As a child, we learn lessons about practical fear. Fear associated with touching a hot stove, lest we get burned. Fear about accepting rides from strangers. But somewhere along the way, the lessons about fear become less worldly wisdom, and more about how we might fit in with society, make friends, find a mate.
Some people operate from a place of fear all the time.
"What would other people think if I did this?"
"What if I'm wrong/look foolish/am not accepted?"
"What if there is not enough?"
"What if I'm not enough?"
That last one, had a hold of me for years. Once I realized what I was happening, I fluctuated between feeling angry that I hadn't valued myself enough and feeling sadness and loss for the girl that wasted so much time feeling those things. And still, still, they pop up. Those nagging doubts, those little snickers after I've been on an "I can do anything" high for a while. The difference between then and now is, when the dust settles, I realize that I don't believe that voice anymore.
"Do you hear me? I'm not afraid anymore!"
Yes, I just quoted Kevin, from Home Alone.
I have done fearless things in my life. Jumped out of a plane. Started businesses. Took solo road trips to unknown places. Said "why the hell not?" when I wanted to run the other direction. But I don't think that those things make a person fearless. I think fearless is a muscle that you have to exercise until it becomes an automatic state of being.
I think it's practicing the getting-up-one-more-time-than-you-fall mindset. I think it's the "Wow - see this fabulous mistake, this foolishly huge error in judgment? That's mine. And I'm going to learn from it. And I'm going to endeavor not to repeat that. But I'm not going to beat myself up about it." It's hearing that voice that likes to tell you all the things you are not, and telling it to fuck off. And maybe for a moment you feel less-than. Maybe for a moment you feel not enough. But then you shake that shit off, and move along - move ahead. Because that's not who you are anymore.
Now, you are becoming fearless.