Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Fear Face Off: How To Rise Above Your Fears

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When I was born, I was given a huge stuffed panda bear. That thing must have been 4 feet tall. It was the kind of toy that any child would dream of. It had a beautiful red bow tied around it's neck, and it most certainly cost a fortune. 

...that panda bear TERRIFIED me to the core.

It lived in the nursery at the top of the staircase. I remember being three or four years old and literally crawling up the stairs stealth-mode style so that I wouldn't catch it's attention. I'm not sure what I thought would happen (a bloody panda attack?), but nevertheless, it promised to be horrible.

Years later when I told my mother that I had lived in fear of a stuffed panda for most of my childhood, she stifled a chuckle and calmly replied 'If you had told me you were scared, I would have thrown it out".

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It's amazing how massive our fears can get when we allow them to take root in our heads instead of just 'throwing them out'. Truth be told, today's message is for ME. I'm a worry wort and not a day goes by where I don't worry about something - How will I be able to make a difference in the world? Will the city I live in ever feel like 'home'? Will I have a family? When will I feel financially stable? Will I be healthy? 

Most of the time, we fear things that never even come to fruition, OR if they do, are much less scary than we expect them to be. In many cases, we visualize having to face these challenges on our own, when in reality, most of us have a support system of friends and family who would be there to stand by our side should the storm arise.

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Like most people, one of my biggest fears is failure. I have no problem taking the leap to do scary things (as evidenced by my semi-insane move to NYC with no friends, apartment or job), but while I'm leaping, I am often paralyzed by thoughts of 'Did I do the right thing? Was this part of the plan? Does everyone think I'm nuts?'.

But honestly, it's just like they say - "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" - FDR.

Every single time I've made a big leap, it has turned out OK. Did I automatically have a perfect life in NYC? No. Did I suddenly have a wallet full of cash to get me through the next month? Hell no. But somehow, I ended up on my feet amidst the struggles and I recognize now all the wonderful things I learned while going through them.

It makes me wonder why I spent so much time being fearful.

So, while a stuffed panda bear and a move to NYC barely come close to the kinds of obstacles we face today as adults, the answer to overcoming your fear is just as simple. Address it. Face it head on. Refuse to let it paralyze you.

Just throw it out. It's as simple as that.

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