How to stop fearing fear

Mar 3, 2021
Written by
Hala N
Photographed by

e come into this planet screaming and crying. Bewildered at all the new surroundings and our sudden heightened senses. Our warm and quiet home already a distant memory. That is our first taste of fear.

This strange response that floods our minds when we're thinking of doing something bold, sometimes even something as mundane as ordering your regular at Starbucks. Fear will widen your imagination and make you think of irrational scenarios that would never actually happen. But those irrational scenarios are woven in between rational ones, and so it becomes nearly impossible to tell them apart. Fear is wicked and relentless.  

But fear can also be protective. Fear is what stops us from standing too close to the edge of a platform while waiting for an incoming train. Fear stops us from venturing into dark alleyways late at night, potentially protecting us from dangerous muggers. It’s what keeps us vigilant. Fear can shield us from exposing ourselves to bad situations.  

This hyper-vigilance can sometimes breed paranoia. Looking over your shoulder just to realise it’s your own shadow. Seeing things that aren’t really there. The line between real and imagined becomes blurred as a result of fear.  

However, we've somehow seen fear impact our world positively through this pandemic. Human beings afraid to infect themselves and others, wearing masks in public to protect each other. Staying at home to protect our front-line workers. A demonstration of fear that has done so much good for the collective. Fear of hurting others can create empathy, an unexpectedly beautiful outcome from an emotion we are normally told to avoid.  

Fear is like an overprotective mother, good intentions - bad execution. All that control leads to being sheltered and inexperienced. Raw with naivety, vulnerable and terrified of failure. Fear will convince us that failure is scary and awful, something to be avoided at all costs. What fear doesn’t tell us is that failure is actually an essential speed bump on the road to success. These speedbumps contain invaluable lessons we cannot go without. These speedbumps bring out the strength and resilience in us, the purpose behind why we even started this journey in the first place.  

Fear is like a veil, it stops us from seeing things for what they truly are, fuzzies up the image. Stepping away from fear is peeling back the veil, so you can see clear as day, what is actually in front of you. No ‘what if’s’ and outlandish scenarios, just the pure simplicity of the task at hand.  

We just need to be able to reassure fear and tell it that it's all going to be okay. We have to come to an understanding with fear. We can harness a relationship with fear, where we acknowledge it, but do the damn thing anyway.

You don’t need to be fearless to succeed, you just need to be aware.  

Fear has stopped me from starting this journey for 26 years. Pursuing a career in writing used to be so terrifying to me that I would stop myself from entertaining the thought altogether. Fear made me lie to myself about what I truly love, it led me down a path of seeking validation from others instead of myself. It took a lot of hardships for me to get to this point, a point where failure no longer scares me, and societal validation no longer serves me. I rushed through the speedbumps and damaged my car in the process, trying to get to the finish line without stopping to reflect on why I began that journey in the first place. These speed bumps made me who I am today, and I am eternally thankful for their invaluable lessons.  This is me telling my fear that I’m going to be okay. And that I’m ready for whatever comes next on this journey.

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