There sure are a lot of things to be afraid of these days, huh? A pandemic. Social and political unrest. Economic uncertainty. Actually, uncertainty on all fronts.
I mean, just to be clear, there’s never been a shortage of things to fear, but these days, we’re really going hell bent for leather, it seems. We’re living through a revolution, and it’s unsettling, to say the least.
And this is on top of all the things you already know you’re afraid of in general. Predators of the animal and human variety, things that go bump in the night, giant asteroids, flying (or more accurately, crashing), public speaking, to name a few. Those are just the external ones; we haven’t even touched on all the internal fears about who you may or may not be, or whether you’ll be loved or abandoned, et cetera.
Isn’t it fun to be human?
Those things that we know we’re afraid of are relatively easy to avoid, because we know what they are, so we generally know how to keep a wide berth. For example, if I’m afraid of heights or flying, then probably I wouldn’t sign up to go skydiving. If I am afraid of being eaten by a shark, then I might not be too keen to take up surfing.
What happens though, when your Fear dresses up in nice clothes—business professional or business casual, as per your dress code, acting for all the world like they are Very Reasonable Reasons, instead?
These well-dressed fears may not kill us, but they do worse: they kill our spirits and maim our dreams. They do this in broad daylight, looking for all the world like The Right Things To Do/Say/Be.
All those Reasonable Reasons, Justifications, Excuses, Pardons, Allowances rationalize the systemic destruction of our courage to create our lives.
When your Fear shows up looking like anything other than what it is, it devours the edges of your world, constraining you and restricting you to settle yourself in the “safe” spots left somewhere around the middle, where you know something is missing from your life, but then maybe that’s the way life goes for everyone.
So, beware, beware the reasonableness of your Fear.
Reasonable Fear eats magic and leaves the mundane.
Its silver tongue will absolve you of your inspiration, motivation and desire, all in the name of safety, responsibility, duty and convention. And you will be left, feeling relieved that you don’t need to step past the edges of your comfort zone deemed acceptable by your Fear, while growing accustomed to the sensation that desires are not to be met, opportunities are not to be seized, and your life should be kept safer and smaller until you die, having not used your life very much up at all.
So, when you have a choice in front of you, don’t simply ask yourself which option to take: ask yourself what scares you about the choices in front of you. Dig deeper than the obvious and immediate reasons why not. When next you find yourself backing away from an opportunity because “you can’t afford it” or “you don’t have time”, be brave enough to look your Fear in the eye, and then decide whether you’ll let Fear’s Reasonableness dictate your decisions.
You don’t even have to do the scary thing; it’s enough to at least identify your Fear, and cast away its disguise. Then you can choose whatever you do, with your eyes wide open.