I’m afraid …

I’m afraid …

Start a sentence with “I’m afraid …” and the ending of that sentence can be almost anything. Heights, water, enclosed spaces, public speaking – on and on the answers can come. It seems there are almost as many things in life to be afraid of as there are grains of sand on the shore.

In today’s world, there seems to be even more of which to be afraid. Nearly every day something in the newspaper or television news paralyzes us with fear. Where can we go to be safe? Will it happen to me? Is my family safe from all the horrible things in the world? Fear seems to cover us like a weighted blanket that no amount of effort can cast off. It weighs many people down to the point that they stop living life.

As I look at the fears that cripple many of us there seems to be one (really two but putting them together) that has many of us locked firmly in its grasp – the fear of rejection and failure. So many bad things have happened to us that we simply are too afraid to keep trying. We have failed so many times we wonder why bother to keep trying because we are only going to fail again. Our efforts will not be good enough and we will be rejected. This fear is real and it grips many of us.

So, what we can we do? How can we set out on a new day when we are scared to leave the “safety” of our own bed? Is there a way to break free from the fear of failure? These are not easy questions. I can be trite and say you just have to get up and put one foot in front of the other. While there is truth in this statement, it is simplistic. Yes, we need to live life and keep trying. We have to realize that not everything we do is going to be successful. We must come to grips with the truth that some will reject us. But these truths don’t make the fear disappear.

However, in spite of the fear, we do indeed have to keep living. We can’t let the possibility of fear and rejection keep us locked up in our own world. Think of all the amazing things and people you will miss if you don’t try. Certainly putting yourself out there means you will be exposing yourself to fear and rejection, but you also will be giving yourself a chance to succeed and meet amazing people. You must risk greatly to succeed greatly.

Took a few minutes today to look through your Facebook feed or watch some YouTube videos of the amazing talents some people have. Some of them are mere children who have incredible gifts. Now, don’t let this overwhelm you. Instead, think of what these people had to risk. Someone may not like their talent and will ridicule their video. They might have failed in front of a live audience when they performed. Maybe they failed in the past but kept trying. In the face of fear and rejection, they pressed on. And they found success.

Start today by saying, “I’m afraid …” and then name your fear. Then, confront that fear. Begin to take steps to conquer your fear. Share that fear with a loved one or a trusted friend and ask them to help you. Take one step toward overcoming your fear. Yes, you might fail and take a step back. But keep trying – each step forward is one step closer to conquering your fear. And remember this, all of us are afraid of something. But, maybe just maybe, as we all step out together and help each other we can put some of those fears behind us.

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