Fear.. a small four letter word that takes up so much space in our minds and lives. Anything that threatens or challenges our survival results in fear in one way or another. Something we haven’t done before, fear of rejection, fear of the unknown, of pain, of loss, of not being good enough or not being accepted, fear of illness, not being financially secure, fear of being alone or left behind. The list is endless. Stepping outside of our comfort zone induces fear more often than not but what comes from that fear on the other side is significant growth. Acknowledgment from ourselves that we can be good enough, that we can and will survive and that although we may be unsure and at times unsteady the worst thing we can do is allow fear to prevent us from growing.
Some of the best decisions I have made so far in life have scared the absolute you know what out of me. They have often been the result of an impulse (but not always) and the lessons I’ve learned from them have come from experiences that I would never change although they were difficult at the time. My first semester in UL I knew nobody. I remember waking up one morning and getting ready to go to college but before leaving I sat on my bed and wondered what the hell was I doing there when all my friends and everything and everyone I was familiar with was in Cork. I doubted if I had done the right thing. I had UCC down as my first choice up until the last minute and changed my CAO to have UL as the top slot based solely on a gut instinct that the course choice would suit me better. UL went onto be one of the best experiences of my life. I met some wonderful people there and some not so wonderful. It opened me up to so many experiences I don’t think I would have had now had I stayed in Cork. I met some really significant people who have taught me a lot.
Another decision drowned in fear was my decision to move to Thailand. When I look back now I know clearly why I made the decision but at the time I was blinded by naivety and the attitude of why not. My flight was from Cork to Bangkok via Amsterdam in April 2012. I was terrified. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the feeling of watching my brother and mom walk out of the departure lounge at 4 in the morning. I spent 6 months of what should have been a 10 month stay there. An absolutely crazy experience is the only way I can sum up that time. Culture shock on so many levels I won’t even begin to try and explain. Lost and found friendships. Extreme highs and extreme lows but again an experience I would never change, not even the bad bits. I came home a broken woman from that one but I’m grateful for every single aspect of it.
Even going to Geneva by myself earlier this year startled me a little. I have done far more risky things and gone much further afield than Switzerland but because I hadn’t travelled alone in a few years I was definitely apprehensive. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it reminded me that sometimes having that little bit of fear is worth it.
Fears I have now are everything from rollercoasters and spiders to loss and loneliness. The latter two make me vulnerable and being vulnerable is scary but regardless I try and overcome those fears with patience. I know that from other past experiences that I was fearful of that something good will come from it, perhaps not all of it will be good but even from those parts there will be another opportunity to learn. So goes the saying of feel the fear and do it anyway.
I trust even my impulses now. I know that I will take something from the experience regardless. Fear or no fear.
Image – Bing Images