Stop Being Afraid Of Life

You have to die a few times before you actually live

Charles Bukowski

Life can be short, so it must be lived. Nobody knows how long they have, so why do anything other than forge a life which makes you happy and which you can enjoy?! There are experiences and challenges, both good and bad, to be had and lessons to be learned. We love, we lose, we win, we fail, we rise and we fall. This is what makes life so beautiful. We learn and we grow.

So, why don’t we live our lives as we should and could? In a word, fear.

We fear failure, but this makes no sense. Of course, failure hurts and it can have serious consequences and repercussions, but it can also be a beautiful thing. Failure is life’s greatest teacher. Once the shock and upset has worn off, pick yourself up and look for the lessons to be learned from the experience before bouncing back. If I was to say that this is easy, I would be lying. Far from it. What is easy is for negativity to take hold and one bad experience to turn into a bad week, month year or life. Once you fail and then bounce back stronger, though, you no longer fear failure and this gives you a new lease on life. Bouncing back is hard.  Very hard. I know because I hit rock bottom last year and lost everything. Everything apart from my family and friends. Yet, I have bounced back stronger than I could ever have dreamed and things are now better than ever. I bounced back because I forced myself into a positive mindset. I did this by, even in my darkest days, forcing myself to do something I love. At my lowest point, I journalled, rode my bike and headed to the gym. And it actually worked. It took my mind off my troubles and I felt good. This positivity helped me to review my failures with a more critical eye, which helped me to identify lessons to be learned and opportunities which I missed but could still be resurrected.

Fear of failure is not the only fear which we experience, though. Fear of rejection causes us to change who we are in order to become accepted by others, in the hope that it might improve our social or professional lives. So, we change ourselves to please others and gain their acceptance, in the process forgetting who we really are. Long term, this is very unhealthy, and it is far better to just be yourself and live the life you want.

The third fear I want to introduce is the fear of disappointing others, mainly family members. Families love to tell us what we should be doing and how we should be doing it. They genuinely care, and only want the best for us, which is why it can be difficult to say no to them. They have experienced plenty, so it’s only natural that they want to share their lessons to help us avoid difficulty. Thing is, it is through adversity that we develop, grow and learn the most about ourselves. If, for example, you don’t want to join the family business or follow your father’s footsteps, then don’t. Listen to what your family members say, be polite and respectful, but also be brave enough to live your own life and not theirs.

Sometimes that which we fear doesn’t actually happen. We take a gamble and it works out so well that we wonder what all the fuss was about. But you will also definitely experience failure. Everybody does. However, if you want to live a fulfilled life rich in positive experiences, you have to take chances and be prepared to fail. Or were you put on this earth to work 9-5 in a job you hate and constantly feel tired, frustrated and desperate for the weekend, when you get 2 days to do nothing? The choice is yours, and so is your life, so choose wisely.

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