He who fears something gives it power over him. ~Moorish Proverb
It’s easy to dismiss other people’s fears, because we “know better.” Just like we can reassure a child there’s nothing in the closet or under the bed, we can see the big picture for our friends and family, and want to flick away their fears.
We encourage a loved one to do their “scary thing,” be it ask for a job promotion, get a wild new haircut, or sign up for singing lessons, because we see their strengths, beauty, and talent. We see their power when they don’t.
Andre Gide said, There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them.
Usually our fear as adults is the fear of looking foolish in front of others. We know better yet we still pause and succumb. I’ve come a long way in slaying my dragons and I still have times when my undies are in a bundle because I fear what people might think.
A quote that helped me way back is one I still love:
To fear is one thing. To let fear grab you by the tail and swing you around is another. Katherine Paterson
When fear grips us, we must take a longer pause and ask, “Who’s the boss here?” Are you giving your power to an invisible “what if”?
Fear cannot take what you do not give it. Christopher Coan
Too often we let fear be the driver, or more likely, the brakes. We let fear swing us around until we’re dizzy and want to throw up.
Ruth Gendler said, Fear has a large shadow, but he himself is small. When we can get past the shadow and get to the root of our fear, it is much easier to deal with. Usually a fear is not as drama or terror filled when we enter its midst. We conquer and move on.
No matter how many times we “conquer” a fear, however, it is never the end. There will always be something down the road that rises up. As the saying goes, new level, new devil. Yet fear gets easier to deal with the more you take a deep breath and dive in.
Fear makes us feel our humanity, according to Benjamin Disraeli. As long as we are breathing, we are human, and we are going to be doing a dance with fear. So don’t fret about it. Don’t think you must be “fearless.” That’s a myth. Being able to see fear for what it is – an opportunity – is the wisdom of the ages.
Don’t give your power to it. Don’t curl up in a ball (not for more than a day, anyway). Look back at every stinkin’ fear – large and small – that you have smited/smote and be encouraged to face one more. With every step, you become more of your true self. You realize the next evolution of your dreams. You spread your arms and take in the view from the mountaintop.
Post the quotes that resonate with you. Read them every day. Know that some days you are on the mountaintop and some days you are facing a new version of a fear. Don’t let it swing you around by the tail. Say hello. Take a step forward and know, as Joseph Campbell said, The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.
Go for the treasure.