How Facing Fear Led to a Better Life
by Derek Cheung
There are a lot of things that scare me, like spiders, public speaking, and financial insecurity. Where do these fears come from? At some point in our lives something happened that lead to each of our fears.
Looking back, I understand where these three fears came from:
- My fear of spiders started as a child when I was surprised by one in an unexpected place, on several occasions.
- As a very quiet and shy child, the thought of speaking up in class, let alone speaking more publicly, was terrifying. I was already a target for bullying, and I didn’t want to give them any more reasons to tear me down.
- Having grown up in a large family on welfare and food bank donations, I resolved at a young age that I would never be in that position with my own family. I got jobs, went to university, got good paying jobs and found financial security. It scared me to think that it could all come crashing down and we’d be right back where I started from.
Living in fear is a limiting way to live.
It’s a way to scrape by in a mode of existence, without truly experiencing our lives or challenging ourselves to grow and see things from a different perspective. Remaining in fear allows us to be controlled by outside circumstances. Facing our fears allows us to grow and evolve.
As the years pass, I am more likely to acknowledge my fears and learn where they come from. Sometimes I choose to face them head on and work my way through the fear. While I’m scared every step of the way, I have learned that I become stronger, happier, and more courageous to tackle other things.
- 2 years ago I chose to tackle my fear of spiders when my then 6 year old son screamed when he saw lots of spiders in their webs around our balcony. I knew that the only way to help him gain courage was to show him that his spider-scared Mom could handle those spiders on her own. I used a hockey stick handle to take down webs and knock spiders away (from a distance, you see). Within a couple of weeks I had stopped squealing and was able to brace myself and just do it.
- Several years ago I decided to face my fear of public speaking head on as it was holding me back in my career. Toastmasters may have helped, but even that scared me. So instead I took on a volunteer position where I would be forced to speak on a monthly basis in front of 40-100 people. Terrifying, but over time I gained confidence and courage to speak on a larger scale. It worked for me.
- 2.5 years ago I faced down the idea that being employed meant that I had financial security. A breakthrough had occurred and I realized that I wanted to live life fully, passionately, with presence, and to model better choices for my son to learn from. I left full-time employment and embarked on setting up my own business. It allowed me more quality time with family and friends, the ability to give more of myself to others, and not have to compromise my values.
Life is Better
The more often I face my fears and work through them, the more courage I have to break free of other limiting beliefs and behaviours. It helps me to take control of my life and turn it into a journey and adventure that excites and nourishes my soul. Yes, there are lots of scary things along the way, but I’m more capable of handling them as they come.
I’m still scared of spiders, but I’m more curious to learn about them and sometimes even photograph them. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ll kill one if it’s found in my home, but that’s a huge improvement over screaming for my husband to kill it for me. I can now work around my garden and go on long camping trips quite comfortably.
Public speaking still makes me nervous and gets my heart racing, but it has allowed me to find success in my own business. As a result, last year I did a lot of travel speaking at conferences and giving workshops. I was able to help so many people, which nourishes my soul.
I’m yet again staring down the fear of financial insecurity. A series of unusual events this year led us to a cash-strapped year, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Working through this is going to lead me to a better space where I am able to give more of my gifts to help others, and with that, financial security will fall into place. I am on a bigger journey of self-discovery and evolution as a result.
Facing fear has led to a better life.
More quality time with family and friends. More time to travel and explore the world around me. More time to connect with and learn from nature. More time to explore hobbies. More time to follow interests and passions. More time to try new things. More time for excitement, laughter, and fun. More time to really enjoy relaxing and downtime. More time to do work that is meaningful to me.
What Fears Have You Faced Down?
Have you challenged yourself to face any fears? What happened? How did it help you in your life?
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