For Days When Fear Gnaws at My Little Bones

It’s really quite terrifying how that one little emotion can paralyze us, how that four-letter word produces a spark in the synapses of our brains and causes a chill down our spines, goosebumps to rise up on our flesh, and puts a halt on our impending footsteps.

It’s often that I feel fear creeps into my little, bare bones like a chill from a snowstorm leaking through the cracks in my window. It seeps through the twists and turns of my bloodstream, until my heart is pumping faster at the thought of “I can’t.” It’s often that it makes me want to turn around and flee, chanting, “This is too big for me. I wasn’t made for this.”

What, really, am I afraid of?

Failure and rejection. My two big obstacles. The two monsters that stare me down from the finish line of a race that I have worked so hard to participate in, but don’t think I can complete at the last second.

I’m just coming to terms with that realization now. (Don’t they say that admitting your problem is the first step? Hi, my name is Sara, and I have a problem with fear.) 

The realization that I am afraid of dreaming too big or too wildly for fear that the end of the day will arrive, and those goals won’t have crisp check-marks next to them, signifying that they are complete, beautiful, achieved. That I am afraid that whatever ideas my mind conjures up, someone will come along and stamp a big, red “no” onto all my hard work, proving that it won’t come to fruition, it won’t be good enough. They’ll send me toppling to the floor to shatter into a thousand pieces, forcing me to sweep up the mess and start all over again.

I’m surely not the only one who has compared fear to a pit of despair that inhabits the recesses of my mind.

And shouldn’t I be able to rejoice in being able to learn from my mistakes? Isn’t that where we often learn the most valuable lessons of our lives? Somehow I missed out on the ability to be able to take criticism and advice without it being personal, without having an Alice in Wonderland moment where I shrink to the teeny-tiniest size and then flood the room with desperate tears of frustration and misunderstanding. All over the root problem that I can’t seem to believe in whatever new idea, passion, project my heart is brewing up for the days ahead.

How do you find a solution to that problem? How do you start to believe that you are worthy of the dreams you have? How do you wake up one morning and say, “Today’s the day I leave that monster named fear out in the cold.”

And then I heard these words from a friend:

“Even if you don’t believe in yourself or you are afraid to fail, you’ve got to be on the path to getting over it. Fear & doubt & anxiety will keep you from going for things. And want to know the truth? They ain’t going away anytime soon. You need to stop talking negatively about yourself, your hopes and your plans. You need to be the most fierce advocate for why you deserve this and why you are going to accomplish this.”

Sometimes it takes the most obvious, simple advice to make us open our eyes and feel like we’ve been hit over the head with clarity.

It takes constantly reminding yourself that

you’ve got to start somewhere.

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3 thoughts on “For Days When Fear Gnaws at My Little Bones

  1. I am currently exhausted by fear; fear that I am not doing the right thing, that I am not going to be good enough at this job I’m trying to get a Master’s for, that people won’t accept what I’m trying to offer them, that I will fail. This gnawing fear that I will fall on my face and fail is constantly with me, but this post is such a good reminder. I have to start somewhere. <3

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