Friday, November 2, 2012

How Does Fear Influence You?

Fear plays an interesting role in our lives. How dare we let it motivate us? How dare we let it into our decision-making, into our livelihoods, into our relationships? It’s funny isn’t it, we take a day a year to dress up in costume and celebrate fear?—The Office US, 8x5

Halloween. A day of spooky, scary, bump-in-the-night, horror-driven jubilation. What are the origins of this festival? Most research will bring you back to the Celtic celebration of Samhain. But what prompted that?

Celebrating fear as the fearful Medusa

I think that Mr. Robert California probably hit the nail on the head. Halloween (or Samhain or All Hallow’s Eve) allows us to acknowledge, embrace, and even celebrate fear.

Fears become a little less scary when we can confront them in some way.

Fear used to cripple me. Direct my decisions. Limit my potential.

  • I was too afraid of looking stupid to ask questions in math class. I struggled with math and hated it. I picked a major with limited math requirements.
  • Fear factored into a lot of relationships. Sometimes I was too scared to let myself be vulnerable and go after a guy I really liked. Sometimes I wanted out of a relationship but I was too scared to have that confrontation and too scared of being alone and unloved.
  • My spirituality used to be based on fear. I was afraid of hell, damnation, and social judgment, and that’s what incentivized my religiosity.
  • I was afraid of being disliked, so I never rocked the boat. I rarely even stood up for myself.
  • I was afraid of how deep in debt I was, so I avoided looking at my bills and making a budget.
  • I was afraid of what it meant that I hadn’t gotten pregnant in seven years, so I avoided thinking about it or seeing doctors.
  • I was afraid of failing, so I rarely attempted anything that was beyond easy.

Fear was a constant advisor in my life.

I’m not sure how I got passed it. Maybe it came with age and maturity. Maybe it came with just pushing through it. But somehow, I managed to kick fear to the curb.
Over time, I have confronted things that used to terrify me and overcome them in my own ways.

I adopted. That was super scary! But I became a mom.
I wrote a book. I published it. Now people are reading it and liking it.
I tackled my budget and have paid off over $70,000 in debt. I’m so much closer to financial freedom.
I changed my attitude toward religion. I have never been happier or closer to God.
I asked for a promotion. I asked for a raise. I got it.
I stood up for myself when things weren’t right. Things got better.

Things still scare me, but I can face them with a little more poise and a lot less dramatics. Fear is important in life, but it shouldn’t motivate us, define us, or limit us.

So here’s to Halloween. Here’s to fear.  


Hays Family said...

A great commentary...Fears really never leave us but when we keep pushing past them they seem to buckle under us and we allow ourselves to succeed.

Rachel said...

This is something I think about a lot.


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