Why Bother Being Fearless?
It is Halloween and there are some spooky ghosts, goblins and witches residing in the front yards of our neighborhood. A lot of people choose the inflatable decorations driven by a motorized fan. Skeletons and the boogeyman, larger than life, gyrate through the night, until someone unplugs their source, the motorized fan. Then the scary character deflates and lies in a motionless heap, no longer scary.
What Do We Fear?
Growing up, I grew afraid of the dark and opening closet doors, thanks to my little brother. Getting into bed one night, I heard some rustling under my bed. I cautiously crept over to the light switch and turned it on, then peeked under my bed. My little brother lunged at me, and of course, I let out a blood curdling scream while he laughed.
As a latch key kid, I usually got home before anyone else. Opening up the front closet one day to hang up my coat, once again, my little brother jumped out at me from the back of the closet. Again, I screamed while he laughed. For a long time afterward, I would check under my bed at night before turning off the light and instead of opening the closet door to hang up my coat, I’d drape it over a chair. While I outgrew my little kid fears, I acquired one or two in adulthood.
One of my greatest fears as an adult used to be whether or not I would fit in. Could I be who I was, and still be liked by my peers? Could I maintain my values, beliefs and opinions in a group even if they differed from everyone else’s? I’ve come to realize, some people will prefer my company some of the time, others will prefer my company most of the time, but not everyone will prefer my presence all of the time. Yet, I am comfortable and know I don’t need a general consensus to be myself.
Another fear was my ability to succeed. Was I good enough? Was I doing it right? Did I make a difference? Success is ambiguous. It is measured differently by different people. Some gauge their achievements according to their income, others by how popular they are and some by how far reaching their influence spans. According to them, I am a failure. But, if I do not measure myself against anyone else, then I am a success. When we compare ourselves with others, we discover we do not measure up. But living our lives to the best of our abilities, we find success.
Why bother being fearless? It is worth being fearless because fear holds us hostage to living according to someone else’s standards. This Halloween, let’s find the source of one of our fears. Whether real or imagined, when we unplug it we’ll see it lose its power to scare us anymore.