Taking the Fear Out of My Life

The best way to hold yourself accountable and to really change is to accept it, work hard at changing it, and have people who will support you in your efforts. So here it is.

I learned a HUGE life lesson recently – I have been letting fear run my life. I wish I was kidding, but I have actually become so afraid that the fear has at times paralyzed me. I’m not exactly sure when it started (heck, I might have been living my entire life based on fear) but I realized I’m ready to end it. I have shied away from things that I knew I wouldn’t succeed in (for example, I applied to 15 colleges I knew without a doubt I would be accepted to), I never tried out for teams I didn’t know for certain I would make, and I’ve never taken many risks. I’ve lived my life on a very straight path. Not that that’s been a bad thing – I have a great career in medicine ahead of me and overall never felt like I’ve missed out on anything. I really do feel blessed with the life that I’m currently living.

Not only was I afraid of failure, though. I’ve been afraid of disappointing others and myself, I’m afraid of other people’s opinions, I’m afraid of the unknown (and I’m definitely terrified of spiders!). I’ve never really been “excited” about something as much as I would fear it. And you know what? THAT IS CRAZY. So many choices I’ve made (or lack thereof) have been led by this insane desire to avoid something new or something “scary”, when all I’ve really done is held myself back.

So I am vowing to stop letting fear run my life. While that’s very easy to say, I know it’s going to be much harder to actually accomplish. But I’m hoping that by putting it on here I’ll have the support (and sometimes a harsh reminder or two) from all of you. I think it’s time I act more like a 23 year old and take chances and enjoy my life (no, mom and dad I will not run out and get a tattoo, I promise.). I appreciate that my parents and friends have not forced this lesson on me years ago, but have given me the opportunity to learn it on my own so that *hopefully* it will truly stick.

Just going to take small steps  that will hopefully lead me to live a life that I am in complete control of and not always afraid of the next step. After a recent decision, a friend asked me why I chose what was maybe the easier path. I really thought about it, did some soul searching and realized it all came down to “I was scared”. Scared of the changes that I thought it would bring and scared that I wasn't ready to take that step. And never again will that be my answer when asked why I made a choice.

Nelson Mandela once said I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

So here’s to not being afraid of truly experiencing and enjoying life – even though failures and disappointments may creep in - because you can’t enjoy truly appreciate all of the good things without truly understanding and experiencing the pitfalls. (Or, you can't enjoy the rainbow without the storm).

[Special thanks to two really great people in my medschool class who convinced me that the truth, no matter how personal or what other people may think, is always worth sharing.]

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