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Fear Factor: How I've Been Holding Myself Back

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
-Franklin Roosevelt

Just to be frank with everyone, my blogs will typically pertain to a topic that is important in my life at the time that I am writing. I feel that it will provide for a much more connected experience and maybe be a little therapeutic for myself (hey, why not?). At this point in my life there really is so much for me to be thankful for. I have three beautiful, happy, and healthy children. I have a roof over my head and a future that may still be TBD, but hey, at least it’s still out there somewhere. As I am 26 years old, I feel like I have accomplished so much and yet so little at the same time. As my audience will typically be a little younger than myself, I hope that you can still relate.

The issue that I am afflicted with at the present moment seems to be so weighted to me, but maybe in by looking at it plainly, it is quite conquerable.

I seem to fear aging more and more.

I always swore that this would not be something that would bog me down, but it has unfortunately reared its ugly head. The thing is, I am not as concerned with growing old as I am concerned with growing in no particular direction. From the time that I was a teenager, I always knew that I wanted to work with youth, and yet it seems more and more obvious that I am in no state to be able to do that because in some ways I may be closer to an adolescent than I might like to admit.

Having children when you are a baby is not easy, but the thing that really enabled me to not grow up or even take accountability for my actions was getting so much help for being a minority, so to speak.

I have worked hard for a lot of things, but I have yet to finish many of them. As I write this, I am realizing how much I am revealing about myself, and while it is quite comforting, it also makes me very afraid. I am afraid that people may see the real me -- a scared mother, daughter, girlfriend, and person. While this is not the persona that I want to reveal, maybe it is time. Everyone has a part of them that is held back due to fear, as life can be scary at times. Right now may be one of those times for me.

The subject of today's blog, if it is unclear, is fear.

Just as a side note, I am a firm believer in quotes. Maybe I am a cliché, but I am not sure why that it so wrong. Quotes may only be words of others, but they are also words of those that lived, breathed, and died what they speak of, and for that reason, I am all ears. So, the ideals that I keep thinking of as I write, is that of Franklin Roosevelt, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Now, as this is a widely known quote, I am positive that all of you have heard it, so I thought I might throw another one at you just to get you thinking:

“It is the strange fate of man that even in the greatest of evils, the fear of the worst continues to haunt him.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

With all of those great words said, I may begin.

It is a hard fact and realization that fear will never completely leave us, and in many instances that is a good thing. However, for my current situation, I am not sure yet whether fear is beneficial or detrimental. In my experience things have come quite naturally to me. Whether it be school, work, relationships, friendships, and I would say parenting but that happens to be my one exclusion ( :) ) have all been easy to understand, until recently.

With age I have become stagnant in my life because of fear of failing . . . again. I grew up thinking that failure is an amazing gift as it teaches us the importance of the right answer. Mistakes then become a lesson that we were not anticipating, nor did we ask for. Not until recently have I begun to challenge that thought. Deep down I still feel that it is important to fail, but have programmed my thinking to acknowledge that with age, the failures are not fixable, but become defined characteristics that we cannot bounce back from.

I am nowhere near where I wanted to be at my age. Many people would console me and detail the reasons why I have not succeeded in areas that I have dreamed of, and yet, I know the truth. The truth has been staring right at me this whole time:

I am deeply afraid that I will find out that I do not possess the attributes, the skills, the personality that I have been told for years that I have. For me, fear is not a formula for what I do not do well externally, but it is the realization that I do not meet the criteria that I have for so long believed that I did.

As people say, what you think of yourself is far more important than what others may think of you, because what you think of yourself drives who you are and where you will go. But what if you don’t know what you think of yourself?

“Fear stifles our thinking and actions. It creates indecisiveness that results in stagnation. I have known talented people who procrastinate indefinitely rather than risk failure. Lost opportunities cause erosion of confidence, and the downward spiral begins.”
– Charles Stanley

I could not have said it better myself. There are so many times that I have second guessed myself, and been so afraid to try something that I let the opportunity pass me by, and with age I am becoming more and more aware of those missed opportunities. So, the question arises, what will I do differently?

“Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here.”
–Marianne Williamson

My answers are my own and will be different from yours. I know that if you are reading this and have felt the things that I have said, then you should be aware of the idea that you are also capable of so much more than you have offered in the past. We were born capable of different things. But fear is not something that we are naturally equipped with -- we had to learn it. So it stands to reason that fear is conquerable after all.

What we have done in the past has made us who we are today, but has not defined where we will go or who we will ultimately become. Fear is what causes us the most regret. In the future, what will you regret?

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