Not only does fear cause xenophobia and racism, but it also stands in your way of happiness. Our fear of the unknown, prevents us from ever realizing our true potential or taking that leap towards greater happiness and opportunity.
Fear acts as the silent kidnapper, tying you down to a chair and preventing you from truly living. It creeps into bed with you in the wee hours of the night and wraps itself tightly around you, whispering into your ears words of doubt. You can't afford that. You'll never find a new job. Traveling is unsafe. He's not the one.....
When you allow fear to control you, you never accomplish the things you really want to do. If you stay at the job that makes you miserable out of the fear that you won't find another job, you will end up spending the rest of your life stuck in your situation. If you are afraid to move to a new city and start all over, you are holding yourself back from all the new opportunities that could unfold. If you always fear that the person you are with isn't perfect, you may end up alone. Fear prevents you from trying new things, from meeting new people, from experiencing life to its fullest.
You can stay within your comfort zone, out of fear of the unknown, but you may live a life of regrets. You may regret never studying abroad. You may regret letting the man/woman of your dreams go. You may regret not taking that job in California. Those regrets will be the heavy baggage you carry with you through life.
Fear can be immobilizing. Of course if you suffer from anxiety, I understand that it is easier said than done to brush off your fears. Every time I take the leap to travel, I lay awake in bed the nights leading up to my departure and I cook up an enormous stew of fears. I don't have enough money. I'm going to get kidnapped. It will be lonely. I'm ruining my chances of ever starting my career. I started grinding my teeth at night the month leading up my study abroad in the Netherlands. My stomach was upset for three months before I moved to Oregon. Despite all those fears swirling around inside me, I still took those leaps, and I will never regret them. Now I cry on the way home from my travels. Living in Oregon has opened up so many opportunities for me and I met my soul mate here.
Instead of letting fear prevent you from taking leaps, you need to let it push you towards those opportunities. Harness that energy and use it to propel yourself forward. I fear heights, but I jumped out of a helicopter over the Swiss Alps, screaming the whole way down. It was the most fun I've ever had, and I would do it again. You can choose to let fear hold you back and create misery and regrets in your life, or you can choose to say, "you cannot stop me!" and turn that fear into adventure.
Do you ever notice how most of the time when you spend hours worrying about what may or may not happen, the outcome is usually way better or a lot less severe than you ever imagined? Instead of wasting all of that time worrying, you could be enjoying life and welcoming the unknown. I, for one, have wasted way too much time worrying about the future, only to find everything works out in the end.
Let's stop this!!! Let's stop letting fear prevent us from happiness! Instead, let's take risks. Let's say yes more often than no! Let's take that running leap into the unknown. I promise you won't regret it. Even if things go wrong, you will learn from them and you will be stronger for the lessons it taught you. No one extraordinary ever made an impact by staying in their comfort zone and avoiding risk. So get out there and take those chances and stop playing it safe for once!!
Published by Melissa Gittelman