Overcoming fear does not mean you will never be scared, but it does mean fear is no longer running your life. There will always be things that scare us no matter how courageous we become. But you can stand up and face your fears, even when you would rather fun from them.
Still, I wonder how many people have said under their breath, or out loud, something to this effect,
“Why would I want to face that – it is scary!”
After all, shouldn’t we avoid things that scare us? I have never liked scary movies. Why would you pay money to be terrified?
While I avoid scary movies, I am all for facing those fears and standing up to those lingering “Beasts” that have us down.
We all have Beasts we have to deal with on occasion or daily. They are the traumas that leave us feeling defeated, hopeless, helpless, guilty, or living in shame. Staying in bed with the covers over our heads seems a viable option to being strong and courageous. The path of least resistance might be to ignore them, but often, we are forced to face a Beast when we would prefer to run from it.
In my future is a first-degree murder trial. You know, the kind of stuff you watch on Dateline NBC. I would rather be doing just about anything than listening to the details of my daughter’s life in the drug world and her final moments on this earth.
Fear is a powerful emotion and one that often drives our lives. When traumas like addiction, abuse, abandonment, betrayal, and even murder become a reality, it’s easy to stay stuck. For some, we ride the Roller Coaster From Hell continuously, reliving our trauma and pain until it becomes our identity.
It took me nearly thirteen years to pull the emergency brake on my ride and to declare war on my Beast while Jamie was lost in the belly of hers. It’s important to note that while I have taken a stand, apparently, my Beast didn’t get the memo or chose to ignore it because he keeps knocking on my door.
The thing about fear is that it never entirely leaves us. Those lingering Beasts whisper in our ears or scream in our face, reminding us of our failures and shortcomings. They love to keeps us reliving the trauma.
“You are a disappointment.”
“What a bad mom; you couldn’t even save your own daughter.”
“I bet Rich wishes he had chosen someone else to go out with that fateful night so many years ago.”
“All of your brothers and your sister are doing better than you – their kids are leading normal lives.”
“You shoulda done this.”
“You coulda done that.”
“Someone else woulda…”
I bet you can add quite a few of your own. After all, you have been listening to the lies long enough.
We tend to believe what we hear, especially when it’s on repeat…messages crammed down our throats (even if we are doing the cramming). They are no longer accusations but your truth.
Once our self-worth is at an all-time low, fear creeps in. The doubts begin, and we become paralyzed. I call it paralyzing fear. We question our every move until it becomes easier to avoid making decisions. Staying down on the mat with our Beast on top of us is painful but might be more comfortable than standing up to take him on. When we are flat on our backs, we can’t even imagine overcoming fear, but it’s what you need to do.
The preliminary hearing date (the one that appeared to be set after others had been delayed) was finally here. I had two weeks to mentally and emotionally prepare to see my daughter’s killer in person for the second time. It was four years and eight months since her murder and more than 2 years since his arrest, and my first time seeing him face to face.
During those days leading up to the set date, the hole in my heart demanded extra attention. And the Beast took the opportunity to strike. It’s not that I fear seeing this monster, but hearing the details of her murder I have been avoiding. I want to get into bed, pull the covers up over my head, and go to sleep until he’s behind bars for good (fingers crossed, prayers constantly).
Have you ever had a medical report that required extra testing? The days or weeks in between your initial doctor visit and the test results can be terrifying. Perhaps you even put off doing the biopsy or blood test for fear of the test results.
When Fiona was a kitten, she loved playing with dogs. She didn’t hear that dogs and cats can be mortal enemies. When my brother’s Springer Spaniel came to visit, he would walk past little Fiona with his head turned as far away from her as possible. It was as if to say, “If I don’t see her, she doesn’t exist.”
That is often our attitude regarding things we want to run away from. Check out these three compelling reasons to face your fears:
- Fear doesn’t go away because we refuse to face it. Contrary to what Finnegan appears to be thinking when he sees Fiona, fears don’t leave us because we ignore them. In fact, they will likely continue to grow if we don’t take a stand.
- Being a fear-facer will give you confidence. It is empowering to be the one who feels scared but does it anyway.
- Someone else needs your courage. In my nearly 60 years on this planet, I have never imagined the amount of fear we are all facing today. Somebody close to you needs you to lead the way. You could be the one who leads them out of the darkness.
These three tips are just the beginning, but they are compelling enough to begin learning the strategies to overcome fear. Remember, it is not eliminating fear. Overcoming means what scares you no longer has a grip on you.
I recommend using the 9 Weapons of Hope™ that can help you live a life of freedom from your fears and more.
Your story matters, so live it courageously!