I know you’re scared of something. Just admit it. Say the words “I am afraid.” It’s okay. I’ll say them with you.
I. Am. Afraid.
I am afraid of many things like physical restriction, losing a close friend or family member to death, losing my faith and even my own life. I’m afraid of what the future holds whether that’s tomorrow or 20 years from now. I am simply afraid.
Fear seems to be the driving factor of life. It constantly controls decisions, actions, words, and even thoughts. Ideas, expressions, and opinions get locked up due to the fear of a judgmental society. It gnaws at the brain and restricts individuality.
The Life of Pi describes this emotion more in depth:
“I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unerring ease. It begins in your mind, always. One moment you are feeling calm, self-possessed, happy. Then fear, disguised in the garb of mild-mannered doubt, slips into your mind like a spy. Doubt meets disbelief and disbelief tries to push it out. But disbelief is a poorly armed foot soldier. Doubt does away with it with little trouble. You become anxious. Reason comes to do battle for you. You are reassured. Reason is fully equipped with the latest weapons technology. But, to your amazement, despite superior tactics and a number of undeniable victories, reason is laid low. You feel yourself weakening, wavering. Your anxiety becomes dread.
Fear next turns fully to your body, which is already aware that something terribly wrong is going on. Already your lungs have flown away like a bird and your guts have slithered away like a snake. Now your tongue drops dead like an opossum, while your jaw begins to gallop on the spot. Your ears go deaf. Your muscles begin to shiver as if they had malaria and your knees to shake as though they were dancing. Your heart strains too hard, while your sphincter relaxes too much. And so, with the rest of your body. Every part of you, in the manner most suited to it, falls apart. Only your eyes work well. They always pay proper attention to fear. Quickly you make rash decisions. You dismiss your last allies: hope and trust. There, you’ve defeated yourself. Fear, which is but an impression, has triumphed over you.
The matter is difficult to put into words. For fear, real fear, such as shakes you to your foundation, such as you feel when you are brought face to face with your mortal end, nestles in your memory like a gangrene: it seeks to rot everything, even the words with which to speak of it. So, you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.”
Fear has gripped onto all of us in a very intense way at some point. There’s no denying it’s snatched me and put me into a state of paranoia. It was always living in the back of my head with everything I did. Fear of consequences, judgments, failures, rejections, disappointments, heartbreaks. This emotion has affected my attitude and behavior, my thoughts and words, my relationships with friends and family, my focus and goals. It changed my mentality in a second and rapidly forced my body to freeze up for a moment only to start shivering and shaking the next. It can be extremely complicated to deal with and control. At times, even in my own experience, it can turn a person hysterically selfish:
“What’s going to happen to me?”
“Why is this happening to me?”
“How am I going to get past this?”
I’ll admit something, I was scared to lose you. In time, enough change had come about that I did lose you. But I still think about you every now and then, hoping you’re living the best life you can. I appreciate all the time we had together and keep those memories with me.
I was scared that we would stop talking to each other. After that happened, I prayed for you every day. To this day, I hope to share a few more memories with you. The last time we talked was 6 months ago. I still remember the times we would go to the meadow and play in the mud, not caring how dirty we got, but enjoying each other.
I was scared that I would disappoint you again. Once it happened for the third time, I put in a great amount of effort to be the person you needed me to be. In time, I reached improvement.
Think about this: what is the scariest thing you’ve seen or been through?
Look where you are now! You’re still alive and well. Yes, you may still be healing but recovery takes times. It will be alright. Fear can linger around all our lives and drag us down. But listen: you can conquer your past, present, and future fears. It’s interesting how this emotion can tear us down so quickly but it also keeps us sane and protected. We all need to be afraid of something or else everyone would be living dangerous lives. No one would be scared to take risks or make terrible decisions. Honestly, we need fear, but we shouldn’t dwell on it so deeply that we lose complete concentration and a total grip on reality. Everyone is different, though, in the way that they cope. Some take longer than others to feel okay again and that is alright. Don’t let people rush you to recover from previous worries. Soon enough we all gain our courage again. Wonderful things result from fear such as coming out a stronger person, new change, and a healthier life.
Just know that it is okay to be afraid.
Franklin D. Roosevelt once stated, “Only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Once you push past fear itself and find yourself at the peak of the mountain, you’re on top of the world!