Recently, a friend of mine asked how I found it easy to share my blog publicly like I do without hiding my identity. Truth be told, I initially didn’t plan on exposing my identity but instead, use a made up character because I felt I was going to be exposing too much about my life and my feelings and I was afraid of people seeing a different side of me. Clearly I chose a different direction simply because I didn’t want fear to get the better of me.
So, for this week’s blog I decided to tackle fear. I’ll give examples of fears or phobias I have and then tell you how I overcame them or what I’m doing to get rid of them. I tried thinking and looking for a word I could use in place of “fear” but I couldn’t find one. I generally don’t like the word in this context.
I’m afraid of large bodies of water like oceans or huge rivers. I’m afraid of rapidly flowing waters. I’m afraid of failure and of not achieving my goals or things I hope to achieve. I’m afraid of not beating or going above standards and I’m afraid of loss. I’m afraid of being around a particular group of people for a long period of time because I’m afraid of people getting too familiar with me.
From everything I have said above, it’s safe to say what really bothers me are things that make me feel small. Like the ocean for example. Standing on the shore of the water always makes me feel small. Why? Because I can’t see where the stretch of water ends on the other side. I begin to feel like I’m worthless to the water. I feel like I am even smaller than a water droplet. I really don’t like the feeling. Fear. So when the time comes to get on a boat cruise or swim in the ocean, I go ahead but with zero excitement.
People getting familiar with me and vice-versa. I am afraid of people being too familiar with me because I feel once people think they know you so well, they assume it’s okay to judge your actions or comment on everything you do simply due to the fact that they know every aspect of you. Also, I think the more people know about you, the more vulnerable you appear in their eyes. Lastly, due to an experience I had, I decided not to let people become too familiar with me. You see, the moment you let yourself become too comfortable around people or someone because they have given you the impression you should be open with them, you think you can tell them your deepest thoughts or let them in on things you consider personal. And what happens when they can’t handle your truth? Rejection.
Another one I will explain is failure. I’m so afraid of failure that it pushes me to work so hard so as to never put myself in such a position. In school for example. I always try my best to do extremely well. The countable times I ever failed made me feel smaller than the image of myself I had painted. I consider myself a brilliant girl with the potential to achieve the most. Unfortunately, there were times I actually ended up failing an exam or failing at a task I was given and honestly, I don’t think I have felt more pathetic than I did in those moments. Failure is scary. Hopefully, no one ever wishes to fail.
That’s only some of the things I feel intimidate me. How did this list come about? Experience. I had some sort of experience with each of the fears I listed or explained above. During one conversation I had with my mother, she said to me “How can you crave something you’ve never tried or had?” I thought that was a good and genuine question because in all honesty a person can never crave something they have never had but can only crave the basic properties of its texture or flavour.
You may be wondering why I brought up the whole craving idea. Well it’s something I noticed as I acknowledged my fears. They all came about because I experienced them. For example, I had to stand on the shore of an ocean for me to realise I had a problem with large water bodies. I realised I was afraid of failure when I failed an exam. A whole exam that I had spent money on. I also realised I was afraid of familiarity with people when I faced rejection. So what’s my point here? You may never really come across things that intimidate you until you experience them.
How to overcome the fear? I read in Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom that “….The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” We have to conquer our fears but how exactly are we supposed to do that? I am not a psychologist or anything like that. In any case I’m still working towards my first degree so everything I am about to say is from my own experiences and these are all things that worked and are still working for me.
- Acknowledge the fear: you need to be aware that what you feel is fear or some sort of intimidation. Being aware of the problem is the first step to solving it.
- Talk to someone about it: Don’t just sit and drown in your sorrows over something you are afraid of or something that intimidates you. I discovered that the fear is lessened the moment I tell someone about how I feel. Make sure to tell someone who won’t intimidate you or make fun of your “fears” as this could most likely have a psychological impact on you. Understand that there are people who once had the same fear you have or aren’t afraid of whatever you are afraid of at all!! Ask them to help you go through the problem. Your best friend is your best friend for this reason.
- Challenge the fear: I had to go back to the shore in order to get rid of the fear. I had to take another exam and work hard to ensure I don’t have to fail it again. Challenge yourself. I’m not saying throw yourself in a den of lions if lions scare you. If what you are afraid of is a real threat to your life, just walk away slowly lol. This bad picture is my friends and I at a waterfall; right where the water was falling.
- Monitor your progress: take note of your heart. Does it still beat as fast as the time it did the very first time you walked into an exam room or met new people? If not, then you are making progress and get yourself a little congratulatory gift. In these two pictures you see my friends and I all smiles after being awarded.
- Last but not the least, as someone who believes in God, Pray about it: 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline (a sound-mind).” Don’t ever allow fear to own you.(This is why I didn’t want to use the word “fear” in the first place lol.)
I hope all this makes sense and helps one or two people out there.
Tell me in the comments what some of your “fears” or phobias are and we could talk about it and help each other out. Also, If you suffering from anxiety, let me know by sending me an e-mail and I will help you get in touch with someone who would be more than willing to help you through it.
That’s it for this week.