How to turn your fears into excitement
“Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.” Marie Curie
Do you give up on things that you love or desire out of fear?
Growing up I had no fears… openly. I never admitted to anyone, nor to myself that I’m afraid of something. To me, that acknowledgment would have made me vulnerable. It was a luxury that I felt I couldn’t afford. Feeling exposed and defenseless was too much to bear compared to conquering what I feared. So I did.
I jumped into whatever scared me. I had to be true to my word and just do it.
I had an aunt that I loved dearly and visited often. The thing is, to get to her house, I had to cross an inhabited hill and a spooky old cemetery. It looked like a haunted place: overgrown trees and vegetation, broken tombstones, a tall rundown fence and small creatures (wildlife) hiding in the bushes.
To my knowledge, no child had crossed that hill alone except for me. I wasn’t fearless; far from it. However, I turned that fear into excitement and curiosity. “What is this place? Why is it left rundown and deserted? Who is buried here and how come no-one cares?”
It turns out the mysterious place was a Jewish cemetery. A beautiful place, until the Nazis took almost all Jewish people from my town to death camps.
As a child, I didn’t know, exactly what that meant. I just knew that the people buried there were alone because there was nobody left to visit them. I felt ashamed for ever feeling afraid to cross the cemetery, and I made an effort to find out who those people were.
They were beautiful and peaceful people alive; therefore, I concluded they were the same dead. Beautiful and peaceful.
No need to be afraid.
I have learned so many things from that experience. I’ve learned that whatever scares me has a story behind it. Knowing the story gives me three choices:
- There is no reason to be afraid
- Don’t be afraid, but approach with caution
- Stay away!
What are you afraid of? Are you afraid to start a business? Are you scared to be alone? Are you afraid to say what you think? Are you afraid to get out of an unhealthy relationship? Are you afraid to show people who you are? What are you afraid of?
Don’t allow your fears to conquer you. Get excited and curious. An unexplored fear has the power to stop you from living the life you want.
Your fears may not be based on facts but fiction. Whatever scares you has a story. Discover that story and give yourself options to move forward in whatever direction is right for you.
Carmen Jacob is the co-founder of selfimprovement.org.