Stop Being So Afraid of ‘What If’

We live in an age of fear. We’re afraid of everything. We’re afraid of the dark. We’re afraid of random noises. We should be at harmony with the world, but we’re far from it. Most of all, we’re afraid of ourselves. We’re afraid to let ourselves be who we truly are. Instead of being our true selves we’re a fake mockup of a fragment of ourselves that we put on display for social media. We are a generation of humans that strive for the validation of likes and comments on an internet platform. 

But real life isn’t on the internet. At least, most of it isn’t. I go to school online. I write this blog online. I order a lot of things online. But I don’t live online. Human science capacity isn’t quite that high. So stop living for what people think of us online and start living for what you think of yourself in person. 

This afternoon I was at a home decore store picking up a new buddha statue, dog bed, and dog food storage bin with my girlfriend and a good friend of ours. At one point he said he needs to find a woman to date. This is an often occuring comment of his. I looked at him and told him, “you need to date yourself”. Even those in relationships should. 

We’re afraid to live life.

A lot of us are afraid to live life. We’re afraid of the real world and the repercusions of our actions. We’re afraid of being alone. We’re afraid of commitment, whether it’s a person or a seasonal garden. We’re afraid of the dark. This isn’t harmony with the world. If you’re finding yourself constantly afraid, then your mind is too much in the “what if” and not enough in the “what is”. 

I suppose we inherit a lot of our fears from our parents, from our environment. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with you if you’re afraid of these things. What I want you to do is simply be mindful of it and don’t let that fear rule you. Fear is natural. But until you’re actually about to do what scares you, there’s no reason to fear. Why are you afraid hours before a presentation? Why are you afraid to ask a person out for months on end without even doing so? 

You’re not being chased by a bear.

Fear is here to let us know things are worth it. I’m not talking about the you’re-being-chased-by-a-bear kind of fear. Not survival instinct fear. I’m talking anxiety based fears. The kind that keep you from making important decisions. The kind that keeps you from traveling abroad or starting that business you’ve been dreaming of. This fear isn’t saving us from harm, it’s harming our chances to live our lives. 

The world never stops. It’s constantly changing and evolving. Stop stopping. If you’re letting this anxiety rule you, then you’re letting your life pass you by and that’s exactly what you’re afraid of in the end, isn’t it. When you’re old, near the end of your life, will you look back and say “I’m glad I didn’t do all those things”? Will you look back and be proud of yourself for overcoming these feelings within or will you die wondering what could have been?

I suppose that’s why I started writing this blog. For a long time I was too afraid to do the things I really wanted to. I still look back to when I was 18 and miss the opportunity I never took to go to China to study martial arts in a literal Taoist temple. I let fear rule me then. I may not be in a place to do that any longer, but I’m not going to let any more opportunities that I can realistically accept pass me by any more. Sure, I’m living in the moment, displaced from the fear trying to chew at my heart, but I’m planning for the future like one would ready for a coming season. 

Will Smith has a short story that encompasses all I’ve said very well. I’ll share a link to that YouTube clip below. I hope you can find the strength in yourself to overcome everything holding you back. Stop being so afraid, it’s your life. You own it. 

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