Let’s be honest, we are all afraid of something. Maybe it’s the dark, heights, speaking in public, solitude… the list can be long. But how about other types of fears, the “things” that really aren’t things such as feelings, situations that take us back to negative past experiences. These fears are harder to identify, accept and talk about, but are as real as refusing to sleep without a light on. Life is wonderful but tough and as we travel through it some events leave deeper scars than others. We learn, grow and are strengthened by them, but no one can deny that they hurt and leave side effects that we carry through life. As much as we would like to ignore them, not talk about them, distract ourselves with other things, sooner or later that “baggage” will come out and affect our lives until we face it and deal with it.
We may be afraid of someone hurting us again, or we may be afraid to fail because we think we are not good enough. We may be afraid of being vulnerable, we don’t trust people and we are afraid to open up. We learn to live with these fears, they blend into our daily lives, many times undetected until something happens. An opportunity appears, a promotion, a person you really like comes into your life, an idea, a decision... When that happens there are two main things you can do. Ignore the situation, move away from it, argue that we are good where we are, we like our job enough or we don’t want to get involved. The other option will require time, honesty, and a willingness to dig deep.
Lately I have been thinking a lot and I have been honest with myself about my fears. I usually feel I have to be strong, so it feels good when I give myself permission to be vulnerable, to accept that even after so much analyzing and working through things, still there’s pain and baggage that needs to be dealt with. The process may not be my favorite, but the lessons, the dots that connect and the feeling that comes from learning from my younger self is worth it.
Freedom is a beautiful thing and freedom from fear is pure joy. Maybe we never fully rid ourselves from our fears, but the fact that we are willing to stand up to them and face them is empowering and rewarding on its own. That is what we have to do, stand up to what we are afraid of and finally deal with it. The situations in our past, the people who hurt us, the decisions we made, all those things we try so hard to hide. We are all a little broken and we all need to pause and see if there are things from our past still haunting us. This is no easy task and you don’t have to and shouldn’t do it alone. Find your community, find people who have been there and can help you, find professional support. Be wise in your approach and patient in your walk. It takes time to undo things that have been forming for years. It’s a process, a long and tough one at times. Who you are now is in your hands, your past may have influenced many things, but you can decide what to do and where to go.