Thursday, January 14, 2016

Fears left unconquered--and why I can't stand the "fearless" notion.


It used to be my goal, my ultimate must-be. I wanted to get rid of my panic and anxiety, and get rid of my fears and move on with my life. I mean, when you're a nervous wreck, doesn't that sound like the obvious objective?

Now I see that word for what it is--unattainable. And I'm not trying to be snarky or pessimistic. But every time I see this "be fearless" mantra floating around (boutique shirts, online memes, etc.) I cringe a little.

And here's why.

Fear is good. It's the manifestation of those fears--panic, namely--that can be a negative drain on us. As a person who has dealt with panic disorder for about 20 years now, I've learned to stop fighting fear and embrace it. That was the only way to quell my anxiety and get my life back.

Our fears signal to us areas of our lives we have to work on. In my case, it helped me overcome a variety of fears from being alone to having blood drawn. Once I worked through those fears, dissected them and made uber-baby steps to conquer them, the fear subsided.

I'm not fearless, but I can overcome fear. And by overcome I mean work through--because I don't think you "get rid" of a fear like a flea infestation. I think you work through it until it doesn't cripple you as much. And if you work enough, the fear becomes something that doesn't scare you as much, if at all.

Part of overcoming it is saying "Okay, this is scary and that's okay. And it's okay if others don't realize why this terrifies me. They don't know what I've been through. And here's how I can work through it--this is the tailored, just-for-me way to get past these fears."

Guess what? I'm still afraid of things. I still have fears left unconquered. I'm okay with that. In fact, I'm learning to be okay if I never conquer them. As long as I am working through those root issues, I'm improving myself.

Do you try to be fearless--or have you scratched that idea from your head. What's your method of working through your fears? Do you need to work through each and every one, or do you find it okay to have some fears left unconquered?


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