Fear is an insidious thing. It sneaks into your mind and warps your reality, albeit slowly. It infiltrates your body when your guard is down, posing as a troubling concern or a bothersome worry. It worms its way through your sub-conscious, never alerting you to its presence until it has become firmly rooted.
Then it attacks.
Fear arrests our initiative and dampens our enthusiasm. It amplifies our doubts, turning us into our own worst enemies. That goal isn’t physically possible, we say. We were fools to harbor those dreams. Our obstacles become monumental and our tasks impossible.
We all suffer from fear. Each and everyone one of us.
I know I do.
I suffer from fear as a writer. Fear of rejection. Fear of disinterest. Fear of someone other than myself being the right person to tell this story, and fear of not doing it justice.
I suffer from fear as a father. Fear of being irresponsible. Fear of not being a good role model. Fear of raising girls in a world I fear won’t value what they have to offer.
I suffer from fear as a Black man. Fear of speaking up too often. Fear of not speaking up enough. Fear of disappointing my father, who’s revolutionary ideals were instilled in me at a young age. Fear of loving a country that I’m not quite sure loves me back, and fear of speaking about that fear in public.
So what’s the antidote to this slow corrupting poison of the mind?
It starts with yourself of course. Nothing is possible if you don’t take that first step forward. Learn to recognize your fear and take steps to cut that poisonous abscess from your life. Accept encouragement but don’t rely on it. Encouragement is lovely, but it amounts to meaningless drivel if you don’t commit to action.
Speaking of encouragement, the belief of others in you is invaluable. Cherish that. Never take it for granted. It speaks to some quality or trait you possess that you have – willingly or unwillingly – chosen not to see because of the fear that blinds you.
Fear is a weapon we allow others and ourselves to use against us. That can only happen if we let it. So recognize your fear, believe in yourself, and take action.
After all, what are you afraid of?