The word “fear”. Take a moment to think about what fear means to you. To me, the word brings up a million different images. To most, it means that they are afraid of something: afraid to speak in public, or scared and nervous to try something new, which is often actually a fear of failure. To me, fear means that I am not stepping outside of my comfort zone and I am not taking healthy chances. All changes, all goals and all life choices are the result of looking fear in the face.
Fear causes people not to live. That might sound silly, but millions of people are going through the motions of “living” without truly living their life. How often do you hear people complaining about something in their life that really is their choice and something that they do have control over? They are just too afraid to make a change. Fear is controlling their life.
Many people have some sort of awakening that they are not “living”. Whether that awakening is reading a specific book, seeing a friend accomplish something amazing, having a personal health scare, or perhaps even seeing a loved one pass away. I, unfortunately, can relate to the latter reason.
I was only 26 years old when my husband passed away in the blink of an eye and without any warning. When it happened, I was in complete shock. I suddenly felt like my life had ended. The sudden passing of my husband changed the way I looked at almost everything in life. Most importantly, it changed me. Any valid reason preventing me from doing something was no longer an excuse. I realized fear could hold me back or I could move forward and control my own life as much as possible.
While I have learned so much in the last year since this took place, the number one thing I have realized is that many people are not living life. In fact, the two words that I’m talking about “Fear” and to “Live” go hand in hand. Fear causes people not to live. People have a, “One day I will do that” or a, “I wish I could do that…” mentality that does not create any change in their lives.
Life can become comfortable, especially when you are in a routine. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be one of the most challenging things people can experience. It’s uncomfortable to feel challenged. Staying in our comfort zone gives us security. However, without leaving this zone you won’t see yourself grow. Accomplishing your goals and truly living requires you to go outside your comfort zone.
The number one regret people have before they die is not traveling. Although I was never one to be without my passport, there were thousands of places that I wanted to go. I thought people that traveled were so confident and well educated and to be honest it seemed so scary to me. There’s that word again, fear. I would be traveling all alone. I would no longer have my husband or my support system with me.
I went on various trips, each one getting longer, and before I knew it I felt comfortable jumping on planes, buses and trains and making conversation daily with complete strangers when English is not their first language. I now write to you from the beautiful beach in Vietnam. Even though I had been through the UK and Europe, coming over to Asia seemed like it would be a big step. When you take one smaller step at a time though, a goal suddenly becomes attainable. In fact, fear stops being a factor. You can encourage yourself, your friends and your family to move forward into new horizons and into life. You can control fear rather than letting fear control you.
Don’t live with any regrets. Stop having a “someday” attitude. You never know when your time will come. Failure is just part of life so if you don’t succeed the first time, pick up the pieces, try again, and feel proud of yourself for trying. Don’t let fear stand in your way of living.
Only YOU can decide the outcome of your future.
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