Honest Talk - Fearing the Free
In a few hours I will be free, literally and figuratively speaking. One chapter will be finished, another one begun. That scares the hell out of me. And that's a really good thing.
People often fear too much freedom. We find safety in constraints, in borders, in obligations and in routine. We make goals for ourselves, and even though finding a goal is the only way to score, too many of us plan out the path in which we're gonna get there in far too many details.
We envision a path in which we believe is the best (and only) way to get there, the way we're gonna dribble through obstacles and find the right time to kick. Problem is, life doesn't work that way. You're always gonna end up facing the unforeseen and find new paths and opportunities on the way. That's when you got to make a choice - stick to the plan or play as you go.
Unfortunately, we often choose the plan, even if we don't realize it ourselves. We're programmed to lean towards the safe, the same routine that we've discovered works, afraid to try something new. What if it doesn't work? What if we regret it? What if there's no turning back?
If there's one thing I've learned, it's that "What if" is one of life's most poisonous phrases. They're the bacteria that despite being necessary at times are for the most part what makes us unwell. They're chains on our feet that we don't even realize are there. And they're the elastic ropes that only let us spread our wings so far.
For instead of using our "What If"s on the things we can gain, we focus them on what we can't gain, what we might potentially lose. Instead of saying "What if doing it will lead me to even more success?", we say "What if doing it will lead to me losing the success I have?".
I have a challenge to you - drop the "What if". Throw it out with the garbage. Just as future outcomes can't be foreseen, the outcomes of the past cannot be changed. So why dwell on it?
I often discuss emotional freedom with friends and how it put me in this scary and wonderful place of freedom, and losing the "What if" was one of the first things that came with it. I never contemplate the future or past too much anymore, nor do I try and create a fence around the path I think will be the best route to take in order to reach my goal.
Now I sit here in front of my computer, and I can see a goal of mine in front of me. For years it's been there, and I've wondered why it is that regardless of the sleepless nights spent working towards it, how it still seems so far away.
I now realize it was the bad kind of fear that kept me from it. The fear of trying a new path towards it. The fear of losing the comfort I now have. And the echoing statement of "What if I fail?".
All those fears have now been replaced by a fear that only limitless freedom comes with. A fear that doesn't pull me down, but pushes me forward because I have no other choice but to push forward. I've thrown myself off a cliff without a safety net and have no other option but to trust myself and start flapping my wings. Even if I have barely taken off, I already feel a new self-trust, not because something's drastically changed, but because I have no other choice but to trust myself now. And sometimes that's the only way to do things.
We are always our own worst enemies. So why not be the kind of enemy that forces the ally to become even stronger?
This might not make any sense to you, so let's go back to the term freedom, which in this instance I am using about you versus your own mind. Our mind can so easily fill us with poisonous thoughts, just like "What if".
Our mind's biggest asset is its ability to lie - I know, just hear me out. It tells us lies every single day, makes us doubt ourselves and our choices, make us regret what we do and don't do and even freeze us in our tracks. The reason that it is an asset however is that we can make it lie about good things too. Like happiness, peacefulness, optimism, passion.
I am always excited about life, and immensly grateful to be alive. That's what I always tell people, and from time to time people ask me how I managet to be so happy all the time. But I'm not. I have days where I too feel angry, depressed, hopeless, but I have now learned two things to "cure" that:
1. Let those "bad" emotions happen without restriction or oppression - cry if you need to, break something, yell at nothing. Express your emotions and learn from how they feel. You won't appreciate the silence if you haven't experienced the storm.
2. Once you're done feeling angry/jealous/sad etc., start lying to yourself. Tell yourself you're the happiest person on the planet. Tell yourself that you're the very opposite of what you've gone through. Say it 100 times and then 100 more.
Just like we all from time to time believe the bullshit we create for ourselves in our head, you'll eventually start to believe those statements too. At least that's what I did, and now I can finally say it without lying. They are no longer lies, but truths I didn't realize lay ahead of me all this time.
So, freedom. Why is it scary? Is it the inability to foresee every day? The lack of a frame to keep you intact? No. It's the fact that if you're truly free, you are UNSTOPPABLE.
You can - and will - do anything, and the people stuck in their self-made chains won't be able to stop you. They will try and pull you down again and tell you it isn't safe, that it isn't worth it. But how would they know, when they haven't won nor failed because they never tried? They don't know. Don't let them stop you. Not fearing yourself means not fearing the world, for the world will fear you even more.
Indulge in fear, just like an actor indulges in his or her nerves before going on stage. Allow your fingers to tremble, your mind to start shouting lies disguised as reason and let the people around you warn you all they want. Then give it all a middle finger and face whatever may come with the certainty that everything will be alright in the end - for it will be.
Push yourself over the cliff without thinking "What if I stayed grounded", let fear force you to spread your wings, and fly with trust that the wind will eventually lead you to your goal.
Your gut, your true voice unfiltered, will lead you to scary and unfamiliar places, but your gut is the only thing you can trust in life. It's you, and you know more than you think.
In a few hours I'll finish a chapter and turn a page to start the next one. This page however has no lines for me to balance my letters on, no grid to perfectly place each letter, and no eraser.
I can do whatever I want. Which means I gotta start lying to myself a whole lot, allow panic attacks and minor breakdowns to happen, trust myself and let life guide me towards my goal and not the other way around.
And I can't fucking wait.
Stay scared. Stay free. And don't let the bastards grind you down.