Those moments of uncertainty that leave you full of anxiety – Those are usually the defining moments or missed opportunities.
It’s okay to be unsure- to wonder whether the risk is worth it. In that moment of time you stand frozen, look out for the signs. It’s your subconscious attempting to assist your muddled mind. It’s sort of magical the way our mind and heart communicate.
In that vulnerable second, you’ll know what matters. The choice will boil down to one between your heart and your fears. This is the difficult part that will make all the difference because while one propels you forward, the other sucks you into an oxygen deprived existence.
Fear has a very vital function in our evolutionary story, and it continues to play a critical role in our daily lives. But as time would have it, the relation we share with fear has become increasingly complex due to, paradoxically, our advancement as a species. According to Webster’s Dictionary, fear is defined as “unpleasant, often strong emotion caused by expectation or awareness of danger.” Specifically, according to Rosen & Schulkin (1998) fear responses (e.g., freezing, alarm, heart rate and increased vigilance) are functionally adaptive behavioral and perceptual responses elicited during danger to facilitate appropriate defensive responses that can reduce danger or injury (e.g., escape and avoidance).
From an evolutionary perspective, the emotion of fear was necessary to protect our ancestors from predators and threats alike. It was not in the negative box of life but in a world with significantly less threats than a century ago, fear is also gaining a reputation for hindering self-growth and overall development. In our present, fear presents itself in more unique ways which are not necessarily caused due to any physical threat. Instead, the threat may be one psychological in nature, it may be something which threatens your sense of self-worth; and that’s where it gets tricky.
Have you gotten nervous while giving a presentation? What about being uneasy around a more experienced colleague? Why would fear be present in such moments? It’s a popular saying: ‘You can be your worst critic or your best friend’. If we assume we are not enough, the fear of not being able to compete becomes present. There is an undertone you can be outdone, outlived. It’s no surprise then how fear has seeped into our everyday existence. The problem is when we begin to limit our experiences out of fear – not due to a real physical threat, but due to being shown we are possibly not as good as the next person.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many instances we should definitely listen to that fear factor, like ‘hey, maybe digging your eye out when you have a migraine isn’t the best idea, or jumping over this cliff without a proper harness is stupid’. But when it starts whispering ‘you can’t, you’re not enough, don’t do it – you can’t handle the stress’ stop yourself and ask: how logical is this really? What do I really have to lose? What am I really afraid of? Will this kill me? The awareness of this very vital, but trivial emotion would allow you to more readily live rather than just maintain being alive.
It’s definitely one of the things that prompted this introspective hunt for answers and ultimately a way to fully appreciate the saying.
In a way, I suppose that’s where the real adventure begins. That’s where you truly begin to discover yourself, your limits, your skills, the personalities that fuel your existence. It’s where you truly begin to share yourself with the world- it’s where you’ll get to enjoy your heart and celebrate this love and energy you know is within you. It’s where you get to acknowledge the potential you’ve always known was somewhere in there.
Ultimately, it’s taking a chance regardless of all the fear pent up in this mess of my mind which has given way to giving love a chance in my life – and damn, that’s a story for another day but boy am I grateful.