For a long time in my youth, nothing phased me. I had been to hell and back. I was thrown off a building, and feared nothing anymore. The worst had happened, and I had survived. I didn’t fear death, nor physical pain, surgery or bad men. It made me daring. Then, the adult world beckoned. Motherhood called, and I was paralyzed by fear. I was frightened of anything happening to my precious child. I was terrified of confrontation, and remained silent. The bad men, violence and danger reappeared in my imagination, and this time I was terrorized. Rather than it being that the worst has happened, and I am now living a peaceful life, my mind said “look what happened! It can happen again!”

I grew tired of feeling afraid of everything from finances to looking for a rental property, friendships to my health. I feared the fear that was eating me alive. I longed for security, and in the process, grew terrified of its antithesis. It is no way to live. Frightened to take chances and to promote yourself. Frightened of falling down, when heaven knows, I had fallen much farther as a teen and survived. Frightened of criticism, of being rejected. Frightened of feeling frightened.

What if, we suspend the fear in mid-air, as though it were a thought bubble? Acknowledge that it is there, but continue on? What would you do if you felt more confident and able? What would change? Would the same people be in your life? Would you eat different foods? Where would you go? What would you plan to do?

At a time when this world presents us with more reasons to fear than ever, maybe it’s time to freeze its powers. Looking over your shoulder is no way to live. I am halfway through my life, and regret the chances I didn’t take. I regret the times I didn’t believe in my abilities and promote myself. I regret not being assertive and stopping toxic people’s antics as soon as they started. I missed out on a lot through fear. I think we all do.

A friend once told me that when she is terrified socially, she pretends she is Cate Blanchett. She imagines what she would say, and how she would be. Cate, the epitome of style and grace, would saunter into a room and be quietly confident. I tried it, and it helps! Imagine what persona you might radiate if you were a certain person. Fake it until you make it! I spoke to a teenage girl I know and adore, after she had given a heartfelt speech yesterday. Her voice was strong and didn’t falter, and her she stood tall as she delivered a talk that left many of us with tears in our eyes. She told me that she was incredibly nervous and was actually shaking as she spoke, which amazed me! The audience just saw the passion and resolve in her words.

Would it help if I told you that the whole world is terrified? Perhaps not in the same way as yourself, but we all have our fears. Fear doesn’t stop a performer from stepping onto a stage, nor should it stop you doing anything you desire. It is your friend; designed to inform you that you are doing something you either haven’t been able to before now, or something unfamiliar. Thank it for its help, then continue on. You have got this! Speaking your truth even though you are terrified is one of the bravest things you can do. My fears served me well, and kept me cautious. It is time to shed my armor and embrace all that this precious life has to offer. No more being frightened of planes and new places, social occasions and promoting myself. What  is the worst that could happen? To begin again, with a fresh start in a new way? That is nothing to be frightened of, surely?!

Published by Raphaela