Don’t Act Out of Fear

I’ve been wanting to touch on this topic for a while. It’s one that has been with me for a while, but one that has really played a big role this year. It came up during my breakdown, during my move, with my psychiatrist, friends, boyfriend, and family. It’s even a central theme in one of my recent favorite movies, Frozen.

This movie, among other things, explores the negative results of acting out of fear. This comes up twice. First, Pabbie the Troll King tells Elsa and her parents that “Fear would be her enemy.” Later, when we see the trolls again and they sing a brilliant song for Anna and Kristoff, they say “People make bad choices if they’re mad or scared or stressed.” As the movie progresses, it becomes pretty clear (at least for me. I mean I could be wrong. I’ve realized that somehow I’m bad at reading between the lines. Maybe I totally misunderstood this movie, but this is what I see) that it’s Elsa’s fear, moreso than other peoples’ fear of her, that is her enemy. Becaus as the trolls sang, choices made from a place of fear are not good ones.

In her fear, Elsa isolates herself not only from the outsiders but also from her own family. This isolation only makes her more suspicious and fearful, a main driving force in the plot of the movie.

When I had already been seeing my psychiatrist for several weeks, we spoke about how I was scared and worried that I wouldn’t be able to find a job thus making my crazy decision to leave my job and return home a complete and total failure. She told me that the worst thing I could be doing was approaching this conundrum from a place of fear. She told me that letting fear consume me was not a solution.

This reminded me of something. Something that I mentioned in the first post ever done on this blog and was the source of its initial beginnings years ago. When I visited my brother once, years ago, he told me he was concerned that I was letting my fears and anxieties hold me back from fully embracing my life. For many reasons, this really stuck with me. Since then, I was very aware of things that inspired fear in me, and in recognizing this and remembering my brother, I would push myself to do the things that I feared. These things include (and are probably limited to, who knows) riding a ski lift for the first time in twelve years (twelve years in which I developed a fear of heights), going on a hike along a narrow path with two harrowing falls on either side (I totes chickened out, but at least I gave it a shot), and jumping off the porch and into the river. However, much as this helped me face those physical fears that I faced, it didn’t cross my mind earlier this year when I found myself single, depressed, and catatonic, and too scared to talk to anyone about it.

I was worried my friends would mock me. Scared that my parents would be disappointed with me. Disappointed at myself that I had already failed at adulthood just a few years after graduation.

I stopped going to work. I would only see people so they wouldn’t think that something was wrong. And when I did see them, I put on a mask so everyone thought everything was alright. I didn’t even tell my therapist at the time the whole truth. And in this isolation, much like Elsa, I convinced myself that I was right about everyone. I was so scared of failing, and of any judgement that might ensue, that I just pretended that life was ok while I sank deeper and deeper into my depression. I didn’t realize that most of this judgement was stemming from me and not from outside.

One of the many quotes on my phone, quotes I turn back to when I need an extra push or some inspiration, says “As we are liberated from our own fear, or presence automatically liberates others.” I witnessed this first hand. When I finally broke down and told my family and therapist what was going on. I was met with great frustration. Not because either party saw me as a failure, but because they both wished that I had been honest with them sooner. As we formulated the plan that lead me to where I am today, I started telling my friends what was going on. Amazingly, many of them shared with me that they shared my struggle. People started talking to me about their own lack of satisfaction with their jobs. About wanting to move away from where they were. One guy even told me that he almost packed his stuff and moved back home in the midst of the awful winter we were having. Some people even told me I was brave and inspiring. Don’t get me wrong, some people judged me and made jokes at my expense. I’m not sure if it was because they thought I was weak, or they were going through their own issues, but it doesn’t matter. So many people were supportive that it still moves me just thinking about it.

I regret none of what happened. I doubt I’d be where I am today if it happened any other way. But sometimes I wish I’d had more faith in my friends and family earlier on.So I learn from it. I am working on this. I am working on trusting people, trusting my choices and not being constantly scared of failure or of judgement. That’s part of the rationale behind this blog. In sharing some of my greatest struggles both old and new, I am trying hard not to repeat past mistakes.

I’m working really hard on believing that good will happen rather than expecting the worst. I’m working on living my life from a place of hope rather than fear. And in sharing this with you, readers, and preaching about it to my friends, and lecturing my mom endlessly about how she needs to stop worrying so much, I’m mostly just repeating the same message to myself. Hopefully, eventually my brain will listen! So I challenge you all to go out there and do something that scares you! It doesn’t have to be huge, sometimes the smallest day-to-day things are the scariest because they are the most ingrained in us!

 

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