The whole world’s scared so I swallow the fear. The only thing I should be drinking is an ice cold beer.

p!nk, “F**kin’ Perfect”

When thinking about what to write, a song lyric from P!nk’s song, “F**kin’ Perfect,” popped into my head. Fear. It’s bitter in my mouth but yet I keep drinking it.

The world hands me the glass, or worse, my mind tells me to drink and I obey. The fear then causes me to not take action. But there are some moments where I choose to put the glass down and not partake in its contents. Instead, I choose to take the action because I know action overcomes fear.

There are times I wonder, however, like the line from “Drive” by Incubus, “how much I’ll let the fear take the wheel and steer?” Not only the fear of uncertainty, but also the fear of disappointing others with a decision to better my future, the fear of looking like an idiot, or the fear of saying what’s on my heart and getting rejected or not having the feeling reciprocated.

On my desk I have an email that my 12th grade English teacher wrote to me after I read a passage from King Lear. It was one of the stories we had to read and he wanted us all to stand and act out a short scene. I was afraid to look like an idiot so I decided that I was not going to read anything, even after he said I didn’t need to act it out but just read it. I was going to take the ‘F’ for that assignment.

It took a lot of cajoling from my classmates but I, with tears running down my cheeks, read a passage.

The email was him saying that he was glad I decided to deliver the speech and that he knew it was important to get over the fear of speaking in front of people early. It was as true then as it is now: action overcomes fear.

My peers and teacher that day did not let the negative connotation of fear take its effect but sometimes I am alone with the shot glass of fear. Or I am seemingly alone. We can let the world or our minds tell us that we have to walk in the fear alone, but if we just reach out to someone we trust and tell them what’s going on in our world, we can get the support we need to take the action.

“The whole world’s scared” but we swallow the fear alone when we don’t have to swallow it at all. Reaching out to a friend or going to counseling to work through our fears doesn’t make us weak. We don’t have to be in our fear alone.

In Marie Forleo’s book, Everything is Figureoutable, she says, “Our first and biggest mistake is that we’ve turned fear into the enemy.” She advocates that fear is your friend, supporting you and helping you walk in the direction of what your soul desires. This makes sense to me, turning the emotion of fear into a guidepost and following it as it is pointing us in the direction of our dreams. After all, we have the same physical reactions when we are excited as when we are afraid.

And knowing this, isn’t the difference between our fear and our excitement only what we tell ourselves?

Maybe fear isn’t bitter at all, maybe it’s sweet like Amaretto. Maybe if we take the action in the direction of fear, we’ll come out the other side stronger and closer to the person we are meant to be.

One thought on “Thoughts on Fear

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