“Fear is a Four-Letter Word!”
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I love the title of this lesson which is a “Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You.” This is an empowering quote by none other than Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt! She was a very smart chick for her day and someone that I respect being the modern feminist that I am.
Fear is a four-letter word, much like the bad swear words we aren’t supposed to say when we are kids, you know the ones I am funking talking about here a-hole, right! Just testing you!
When I was a very impressionable young girl, I used to be extremely afraid of lightning and thunderstorms. Of course, the storms would happen at night when my family and I were all supposed to be asleep.
Whenever a storm would happen, I’d sneak into my parent’s room to ask if I could sleep with them. By the time, I was ten years young, they stopped letting me so, I had to look at my other options. My brother Ryan was one of them but man did he let me have it. When I’d ask to come sleep with him already armed with my pillow in hand and a sad expression on my tear-filled face. I’d explain that Mom and Dad wouldn’t let me sleep with them and I didn’t want to sleep in my bed all alone. I was too scared to sleep alone, so my brother Ryan tried to bribe me. He’d say “What are you going to give me?” I’d list of a few things of value to him that I thought was reasonable like a few dollars that worked hard for and saved up and he’d say “Oh, no that’s not good enough, how about your globe or your binoculars?” I’d gotten these as gifts and thought that they were very valuable, so I was shocked even at that age that he’d ask me for such precious items when I was at my most vulnerable state. After I agreed to giving him one of them, I started to try to crawl into his bed and he said, “No, you can sleep on the floor!” Wow, really?!
I’d finally relent and give in and end up giving him both items when I’d slept on the floor of his room a few times, but I quickly learned after that, that it really wasn’t worth giving away my treasured valuables just to be able to sleep on the floor in his room. I wised up and told my parents what he’d done one day and got my items back. Shithead!
After tattling on his there was no way in hell that he’d ever again let me sleep anywhere in his room. Man he was ruthless!
Ironically, when Ryan grew up he went to law school to become an attorney but didn’t practice after graduating and instead today is a very successful businessman where he is completely self-made and has a business where he is a custom home builder and contractor. Go Ryan! I see now that you were honing your negotiating skills when we were kids.
Thankfully, as a kid I got over my fears by eventually facing them. I think that it’s a very good thing to work on your fears.
I used to be scared of lots of stuff and very fearful over a few too many things. It was to the extreme and some of my fears took me to a breaking point where they affected my daily life and interfered with relationships I had and some I still have with people I love. One day, I decided that I’d had enough and was going to work on my fears until I came to peace with them and to a point where it didn’t freak me out or control me. I used to avoid a lot of what I feared, like going to the dentist or flying.
A few years ago, I told myself that I didn’t need to ever see a dentist again, so I avoided going to one for 2 years. Even a simple teeth cleaning appointment was out of question. How silly is that! Then, my son needed to go see the dentist, so I booked us both to get our teeth cleaned on the same day. I was nervous as hell going into the appointment but was trying to be brave for my son. He brought his best friend at the time, Jake with us to the dentist office. As, I trembled with anxiety in the dentist chair, I made it through the ordeal.
A month later, I went back and go get some work done, it was still painful and difficult and I told myself that I didn’t want to go but I still I pushed myself and made sure that I showed up. After this, I ended up going back to see the dentist often to try to take care of issues and it got more manageable and easier for me. Today, I can go get a tooth extracted while awake and only having numbing shots or a root canal done and my level of anxiety out of 10 is around a 2 to 3, meaning that my stress level is very low. Imagine that!
As far as my fear of flying, let me tell you a pretty awesome experience I had. One empowering night, as I was laying in bed, I told myself that I was done being afraid to fly. I booked a flight that left a few days later and got my ass on that plane and faced my fear. Then I did it again a week later, then a few months later and now I don’t mind flying so much, in fact I try to find things to look forward to about it. I’m confident that one day, I’ll love flying again completely!
I eased my way into exposing myself to this fear and fought back against my false thoughts surrounding my fear of flying.
Like my Dad told me awhile back, he said “You can’t escape your problems when you move someplace new, they follow you.” My rebuttal to this is this, “At least the weather and scenery could be better and easier to deal with than staying someplace that no longer challenges or interests me.” You shouldn’t be bored or afraid of change and for heaven’s sake I would never wish this even on someone that I hate: to live an unexamined life that you hate or feel trapped and bored.
I know when I’ve had a very good day, it’s when I did at least one thing that scared the crap out of me……..and I still did it! For me it was the dentist, flying and even public speaking. It’s perfectly natural and ok to be nervous or hesitant about something especially if it’s new to you but the key is to do it anyway! This is coming from someone who has panic and anxiety issues. If I can do stuff that I’m afraid of, you sure-as-hell can too, honestly!
Don’t let yourself live in a protective bubble and shield yourself from the things that make you afraid or fearful. I used to be the poster child for this and I thought that I was being smart and protecting myself from harm, but really what I was doing was limiting myself and missing out on things that would make me a better person.
Try to do things that scare your every single day because you will never grow and become faster, smarter and better if you give into your fears and become stagnant, plus you will miss out on things that I promise you’ll look back on in years to come and tell yourself that you are so happy that you decided to do that which scared you.
LESSON TWO: Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You