Fear. It manifests itself into the aversions you have, the ghosts that you are afraid of and of course- through the dark and immense wonders of the world that we are taught as children: the concepts of life and death. As a child, I possessed three fears: 1. swallowing my gum and it becoming etched and stuck in my stomach for 7 years (what kind of myth/fear was this? sounds like it was perpetuated by elementary and middle schoolers and parents to convince you that chewing gum was not beneficial for your teeth) , 2. falling and scraping my knees (did this from my bike once and had to get multiple stitches and have to deal with a lifelong scar that is a constant reminder of the hill I should not have rode down) and 3. disappointing people. It was as if these fears were heightened as an adult, perhaps not the first two but more so- the last. The fear of disappointment becoming an anchor on my heart every time I contemplated making major decisions that could potentially alter the course of my life- especially when you feel like the decision you are making is in your own best interest but is met with a lack of enthusiasm from the rest of the people in your life. But how do we move past this?
Karen Thompson Walker has an incredible TEDTalk about Fear, about how fear and storytelling are intertwined and contain the same components that live within our minds. She speaks about the fables that surround fear and how its misconception has flouted our minds into believing its debilitating nature. But what if it isn’t? What if fear can be used as a mechanism to imagine the unimaginable, to move the mountains that stand in our way, to conquer the plights that we deem difficult and to finally- dream the type of dreams that can turn into stories. Walker uses this ideology in her TedTalk by equating fear into storytelling and using it to further our understanding.
“What if instead of calling them fears, we called them stories? Because that’s really what fear is, if you think about it. It’s a kind of unintentional storytelling that we all born knowing how to do. And fears and storytelling have the same components. They have the same architecture. Like all stories fears have characters. In our fears, the characters are us….” -Karen Thompson Walker
So if storytelling and fears have the same genetic makeup, why is it hard for us to see this as something positive and move past it by a means of conquering what ails us? Why is it hard for us to move past our fears? Especially when the elements of storytelling allow you to rewrite what the problems in the plot are and reimagine what present outcome you are apart of? Maybe Karen Thompson Walker was onto something. If the elements of fear are components of storytelling- How can we indeed move past this? What are YOU afraid of?
Picture it, your fear I mean, envision it in your mind. Is it preventing you from seeking the realities that you dream of? Is your fear tangible? Something existent in this world and as a result- grabs a hold of your every thought and breath? Envision it so you are able to say it out loud. One of own my biggest fears involves not being good enough at what I seek out to accomplish in this world. This coupled with my anxiety, my fear allows me to participate in self-sabotaging behaviour where I squander my opportunities in fear of ruining them with anything short of perfection. So much so that whenever I see any sort of success, the saboteur in me wants to come out in full force.
By saying this out loud- in the form of this blog, to my loved ones, I am able to rewrite the rules to my fear and as a result, I am able to work on conquering this fear. Once you are able to do so, you will find yourself weight-less, like the weights that were on your shoulders have been relieved and the fears that kept you up at night are on the road to no longer being apart of your life. The manifestations of fear gone, the narrative you are apart of, rewritten. I found that when I hold my fears in, keep them to myself- the progression of ridding myself of this pain and turmoil that comes alongside these fears grows and worsens over time.
By speaking your truths out loud and in technicolour, you will be able to take charge of what you are afraid of and in turn break the manifestations of fear.