I decided in order to be truly authentic I would have to step out of my perfectly convenient comfort zone. I have always admired others who have done this, reading their stories with jealous delight. These stories resonated but could not be thought of as possible for me.
One word. A very strong one.
You know that deafening voice you hear, the one that stops you from taking small everyday steps, that incapacitates you from making huge moves, and makes you believe that change is not possible?
Well, that fear is your own worst enemy.
We let that fear in and let it reside in us from natural instinct and also from societal expectations. Of course, we need beneficial fear in order to keep ourselves safe from harm, but we need to face the groundless fears that keep us from moving forward.
That takes time and a little bit of guts.
It takes guts because it means going against what you have been taught, what is expected of you, and what you have conditioned yourself to believe.
Fear has so many layers that most of the time we are not even aware that it is leading our lives. We think that we have control and that we are deciding where to turn, when in fact fear is the backseat driver that we listen to and that we take directions from. We are still holding on to the steering wheel though, so we think that we still have power.
It is so much more than simply being afraid of heights or spiders. It steps into your thoughts and makes you believe that you cannot do something because of some completely senseless thought process.
-I want to quit my soulless job. “Are you crazy!! It’s a good paying stable job. It’s paying for the house, the car, and everything else you don’t really need in your life. You really need to keep pretending that you need all that stuff to be happy.”
-I want to travel. “No, you can’t do that. You don’t have the money, you’ll get robbed/raped/murdered, you’ll get sick.”
-I want to write a book. “Who are you kidding? You can’t compete with the real writers of this world. You’re going to fail and make a fool of yourself.”
Facing several of my pointless fears last year I set out traveling on my own to discover who I really was behind all my apprehensions.
I now can sit and sleep and shower in places that have not been cleansed and sterilized to unnecessary hygienic measures. I can now relax and calm my overactive mind of the thoughts that used to plague me warning me of my certain death from dirt.
I can now approach total strangers and open up to people that I would not have been capable of approaching a few years ago, thinking that they would rob me blind and/or murder me on the spot.
I can now travel alone without the dread of discrimination, stereotyping and any other narrow-minded attitudes I worried myself to shreds about.
No, I don’t have OCD or any other such crippling anxiety, these are normal scale fears. I think.
As I sit in this beautiful Mexican town I am not afraid of the chance of getting sick or of being stung by a mysterious (huge) insect, I am not afraid that my possessions will get stolen, I am not afraid of the language barrier, and I am not afraid that my bangs will not stay straight.
Because you know what.
There is a chance that I will get sick, there is a possibility that my possessions will get stolen, I am trying my darndest to learn the language, and seriously who cares about my bangs. About the huge insects, well, I’m still working through that one. Actually insects are a delicatessen here…and no, I’m definitely not ready to go there yet.
The only way I could reach this thought process was to step out of my comfort zone and confront those fears face on.
I did, and I feel fantastic!
“Everything that you want is on the other side of your fears.”
-Fearlessly forward bound.