If we don’t take risks we don’t grow, we don’t change, we live small little safe lives worth very little.
Fear is real and very present for some in this ghastly world, but for most of us it’s a personal thing, fear of failing, fear of being laughed at, fear of being stupid, or thought stupid: fear of ridicule.
Personal fears come from the dark dingy recesses of your mind where it’s almost possible to lock them away but not to banish them as they should be, freeing you to live your life on your own terms. Fears should be faced, confronted and sent away.
Fear of the unknown, of what might happen next stops us dead. But we can’t know what is ahead of us. We can’t be safe.
Try these fear busters out –
The blank page – for writers and artists – nothing is scarier, a naked page, empty of words or images. It taunts you, teases you, mocks you. You want to create, but fear of starting, fear of imperfection strangles you. So just pick up the pen. I urge you to confront the page not the screen, to feel the pen in your hand, let it find the page, allow the words to travel to the page. It doesn’t matter in what order or if it makes any sense. You are writing, you are putting words on the page, it may be wonderful, it may be terrible. It doesn’t matter – you have started. You are writing.
And so the artist must pick up her pencil or brush and let the blank canvas fill with images, colours, shades, shapes. Does it make sense, does it matter? No, you are expressing yourself, making a start, getting ready to make something special.
Confront the lump of clay; the ball of wool; the material and pattern, thread the sewing machine. Be in the space to create, don’t let fear drive you out of the room. If you want to write, write. If you want to make dresses then start. Don’t be put off by the image of the end product. Don’t start to write a novel before you can write a paragraph. Don’t make an over-coat until you can make a pair of simple pyjamas.
Get behind the wheel of the car – take lessons, practise, get your driver’s licence. Take flying lessons, singing lessons – don’t sit beneath a fug of I cant; they’ll laugh at me, If only…
As in art we are in life and we must confront our fears. We must leave the destructive relationship, the toxic job. We must find the best path for us, leave behind security, certainty and take risks to be the better person, to do the things we want. To live a life we are proud of, one that is full, that isn’t perfect, that is often ugly and foolish and sad and stupid.
It is the truth of small steps. Fear comes from dark places, from needing answers and assurances that aren’t there. Aren’t possible to give or find.
The way to a life we want is to feel the fear, embrace it and then take our first small step in the right direction for us. Touch the page with the pen, the canvas with the brush, the wool with the needle. Leave the relationship that has stalled, is smothering you (or worse). Being on your own can be frightening, it can also be wonderful.
You have no choice: feel fear and do it anyway. Feel the power, the freedom and exhilaration that come from taking risks, from facing your fears. It will make you a better person – someone you might like living with a lot better. (Images courtesy Google Images.)