Riding Bitch

The daily musings of a writer.


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Slaying the Dragon of Fear

I had a crisis of faith the other day (actually, it lasted 3 days). It was triggered by someone offering me an opportunity of a lifetime, and me answering, YES. As soon as I hung up the phone, I thought, “Oh shit.”

I spent the rest of that day and the next two days questioning whether I had made the right decision. What had it meant to say YES? What had I gotten myself into? Was I really ready for this commitment?? The more I thought and talked about it, the more I realized I AM READY. And that all my doubts were about FEAR.

Let’s talk about Fear. A lot of people think that the opposite of fear is Courage, and that Courage is being “fearless.” Let me tell you something. No one is fearless. NO ONE. Unless they’re delusional.

Fear is natural. It’s one of the most natural emotions out there – probably every living thing on this earth feels fear at some point. It’s a self-preservation tool. Our brains tells us to fear something because it wants to protect us from danger or pain, or more complex emotions like embarrassment or ridicule.

I have a friend who admitted her greatest fear is WASTING TIME. So, it’s very difficult for her to start something new because she is afraid it will be all in vain.

One of the greatest fears we commonly have is the fear of FAILURE. What we don’t talk about nearly as much is the FEAR OF SUCCESS. You know that phrase, “Be careful what you wish for”? Fear of success is a real thing.

We’re told to envision what we want and strive for it with all our being. What happens when you get what you want? There’s a real possibility that you might freak out. And THAT’S OKAY. How you move through a moment like this is crucial.

The first thing to do is BREATHE. Don’t panic. Don’t do anything sudden. Take a moment – or a few days – to analyze the situation from all sides.

You might want to seek advice from loved ones and close confidants. But only reach out to people who know you really well and that you 100% trust to be both honest and discreet (a crisis of faith is a vulnerable moment and the wrong type of person can take advantage of that). Finally, be ready to hear what people tell you.

When I reached out to my closest friends, each one had different advice.

“It sounds like you’re looking for permission to let yourself off the hook,” one observed.

Another told me to write the Pros and Cons of my decision down and call her back. Ironically, my Cons list was longer! But the Pros were more compelling. And, on further reflection, I realized that everything I’d listed in the Cons was fear-based. And I had vowed to not make my decision based on fear.

The most consistent thing people told me was, “That’s the Fear talking.”

The most important thing is to let yourself have this moment without berating yourself. FEEL IT. Let it move through you. It’s normal. It’s healthy! It means you realize the gravity of the situation, the stakes. And it’s good to think things through.

Back to the word Courage.

The definition of Courage is doing something DESPITE your fear. Put another way, Courage is about overcoming fear. This is a huge part of drama, right? We want our heroines to slay the dragon even though they’re afraid. We want to see them push through it and come out the other side victorious. Even if they fail, it’s far more satisfying to see someone overcome their fears than not to.

And how do we overcome fear? With PREPARATION.

With the right preparation – doing your homework – you can do anything you set your mind to. After I had made up my mind to go forward, I texted one of the people I’d spoken with. She wrote back, “Be prepared.”

There is no getting around putting in the time and work. So, if you’re not willing to do that, maybe you should walk away. But if you ARE… the world is yours.

So, go ahead and slay that dragon.