When I was a young girl, nothing could stop me. There wasn’t anything that you could tell me, I couldn’t do. I didn’t think about it or dwell on it or weigh the pros and cons. As long as I felt that tingle in my stomach I went for it. I remember telling my friends “I’m going to be famous”, and they would all look at me and laugh. See, where I grew up it wasn’t the norm to dream beyond the usual. Big dreams were for those born into privilege and lived thousands of miles from where we were born. Their chuckles didn’t bother me though. Thinking back now, I guess it didn’t because I believed in my dreams more than anything else. I never saw them as impossible.
When I was 12 years old, I asked my mother if we could move to New York so I could take dance and voice lessons. We laugh about it today, but I remember her bewildered expression. She knew I was serious. She wondered where I had gotten such a ludicrous idea. Recovering from the startle she calmly said to me, “You’re too young to move to New York alone and you know your dad wouldn’t approve.” It was the only possible answer she could give, because it was the truth.
That didn’t stop me however. Now entering high school, I joined the dance ensemble and then the choir and began singing in church. I also played the piano pretty well, having been classically trained from since the age of 5. My eagerness to be on stage and perform brought me to a life of pageants and I took much pleasure in particularly entering those with talent segments. There was hardly a pageant or talent show that I did not win.
Fast forward to a World Talent Award (given by the Miss World Organization), cover features, a mildly successful single and album and there you will find a woman who seemed to have had everything going for her struggling to find her place in the world and full of fear.
Where did that fearless young girl disappear to? When did I become this flailing, weakling? Time, disappointment, pain and hurt have taken their toll. They beat you down like an abusive lover and they have the potential to break you – tearing away at your spark and zest for life. Little by little, I found myself becoming doubtful and thinking that this mediocre space I was in, was where I would be for the rest of my life. No matter how many great ideas may have popped into my head, I couldn’t act on them because of fear. Fear of rejection, disappointment and fear of what people would think of me or say. But through prayer and self-reflection I found a way to control my fear rather than let my fear control me and you can too!
Though our fears are a part of us, they need not define us. Fighting fear comes with action. The first step is to become aware. You can’t change something unless you are aware and conscious that it needs to be changed. Understand exactly what your fears are and identify them. Once you have an understanding of that, then you can take action to counter those particular thoughts. Reflect on what may have caused them and why. This may take some real soul searching. So many of us have underlying hangups and issues that we are not even aware of. The truth is, we are products of our environment. So don’t rush this part. Take your time and discover what is revealed to you.
The next step is to read as many self-help books as possible. I have tons of downloadable books from Amazon and Barnes and Noble and some books I have the actual hard copies. (See special post with concise list of some of my favorite self-help books here). Another step I took to releasing my fears, was talking. It’s good to not hold things in all the time. Talking allows you to express your feelings in the open. I talked to trusted friends and family members and sometimes even co-workers. Notice I used the word “trusted” here.
One of the things that stuck with me the most on this journey of finding myself, was in Don Miguel Ruiz’ book “The Voice of Knowledge”. There he teaches the meaning of living in your truth and training our minds to realize that thoughts are not real. Fighting fear comes by changing the way we think. Ever heard that saying “you are what you think”? It’s so true. Remove false thoughts with positive, truthful thoughts and while you are doing all this don’t forget to pray and/or meditate. I have bible app downloaded on my phone. It comes with audio and prayer groups and communities and is rather an inspiring app. Letting loose of fear won’t be easy. There will be good days and bad days. It’s a process and it’s not easy to unlearn bad habits, but your life and happiness is worth it.