Hey there, awesome readers!
Today I want to write about fear and self-acceptance and following your own heart. Mostly in that order but I may have to skip around a bit because I’m starting to think that life lessons and growing are not part of a linear plan at all and whoever decided that we should age in a successive order may have been wrong all along. This is also another indication that we shouldn’t ever follow anybody else’s values or principles or ideals. We should just follow our own hearts. (It’s a good thing that I mentioned that I may be skipping around up front because I think I just did that.)
Okay here we go with topic #1:
According to people who study human nature and evolution and possibly even history, fear was once upon a few hundred years ago our body’s way of telling us that we were about to get swallowed by an earthquake or charred by the village campfire or trampled on by a dinosaur. Fear caused our hearts to suddenly crawl up into our throats while leaking silver sparkles into our bloodstream so that we could recognize that a threat was about to happen. It was our body’s way of keeping us alive.
But that was back then.
In today’s world we no longer have dinosaurs. And although we do still have earthquakes and campfires and other scary things like imaginary serial killers that hide in our closets, we no longer need fear to keep us alive thanks to things like civilization and locks on doors and laws that keep us mostly safe.
Except that fear also has a capacity to fear threats towards its own demise in the way of atrophy. So it has learned to evolve into a way of keeping us paralyzed into our own safety zone because what do we have to fear in today’s world? Oh I know! OURSELVES. Case. In. Point. (Sort of. Keep reading.)
A few examples of 21st Century fears:
- Starting up a BBQ – for fear of it blowing up.
- Falling in love – for fear of being disappointed.
- Realizing our dreams – for fear of also realizing that we suck at said dreams.
PS. Possibly these are just my personal fears but after speaking to a friend of mine about this, I’m pretty sure that we all have our own list of quirky fears. (You should hear HERS.)
PPS. Feel free to share your quasi-neurotic fears in the comments below.
And while our fear-induced “safety zone” is a nice place to hang out sometimes, it also prevents us from being all that we can be – whether it’s to birth a book, travel the world or learn how to cook red meat.
Possibly the biggest fear of all on a global not-just-me level is the fear of not being accepted for who we are. For who we TRULY are.
Which brings us to the next thing I want to talk to you about.
If you know me in real life this may come as a surprise since I have this supernatural ability to come off as assured and poised and ultra suave (stop laughing) but I actually suffer from anxiety attacks. Yup. True story. Although most people don’t call them “anxiety attacks”. They call them low self-confidence. To me they are one in the same.
Here’s a little secret I’ve picked up along the way:
While we are all different we are actually all THE SAME.
We all doubt our differences while at the same time worry that we’ll be just like everyone else. We want to fit in and yet we want to stand out. We want to relate yet want to pioneer with new and unique ways of looking at things.
It’s like we struggle with our desire to belong to a tribe while at the same time fight with our own need to just be, say and do what our heart yearns.
Which brings us to the next thing I want to talk to you about.
Following your own heart
The idea for this post was born yesterday morning after I submitted this blog for a “usability test”. It was a free service and I thought, “What have I got to lose?”
It turns out I had a lot to lose – but only for about half an hour.
The analysis came back as a video of someone speaking out loud while he did a quick, top-level exploration of this site. To be perfectly honest, after listening to his 5-minute thought process, I was ready to run away from home. He hated my site and had nothing (read: NOTHING) nice to say about it.
At first I felt crushed; like that prehistoric dinosaur had just caught up to me, trampled on my heart and then chewed on my soul before washing its private parts with the remains of my very essence.
Then one of my biggest fears surfaced:
Hello, my name is Mona and I’m the crappiest of crappy writers that has ever had the pleasure of pretending to know what the hell she’s doing.
And so I got up from my desk and went to the gym. Then a funny thing happened. While I was beating myself up on the treadmill I realized that Mr. Holier Than Thou Usability Tester DIDN’T EVEN READ MY BLOG. He just voiced his impressions on the visuals and layout and then left. Possibly to trample on someone else’s heart and soul without the use of some sort of context.
(In case this hasn’t occurred to you yet, context is very important. Always and no matter what you’re talking about. Without context all you have are fluffy, abstract thoughts.)
Then I realized – or rather REMEMBERED – that while connecting and sharing with y’all is something that I’m uber passionate about, the whole point of this blog is to give myself a place to just be me.
Why? Because writing consumes me and even though it’s what I do for a living, working on client projects doesn’t always . . . okay never gives me a chance to fulfill my incessant need to feel things with my heart, soul and mind and then bleed out my thoughts with words.
Writing is both a passion and a curse. This blog is both my magical place of solace and my salvation.
This blog is also one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. Since starting it four years ago I’ve learned to disempower the demons and strengthen my own sense of self. I’ve learned that my voice is my voice and even though it’s not for everyone, that’s okay. I’ve learned that sometimes the only way to figure out who you’re meant to be is by being yourself. I’ve learned that my opinion of myself is more important than anyone else’s opinion of me. I’ve learned that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being the leader of my own freak parade AND enjoying the procession.
Bonus Teaching:Through it all I’ve also learned that in random pockets of this vast world there are other people out there who actually think the same way that I do. And although this is a perk, it’s not the be-all and end-all.
All that to say that blogging is good for the soul and better than therapy and above all has taught me to overcome my fears, accept myself for who I am and follow my own heart – in spite of my often-times struggle with panic attacks and low self-confidence.