This I Believe

Heather - Plant City, Florida
Entered on February 4, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: fear

This I Believe…………

That fear can be used for good. Fear is a fact of life but we can choose what we want to do with fear. As a person who experienced the debilitating and immobilizing fear of panic attacks, I am no stranger to fear. But, instead of allowing fear to mold me I chose to embrace, investigate, and even welcome it into my life. The harder I fought against fear the worse the fear became. At first when feeling myself succumb to panic attacks, I felt myself the victim. Why me – why is this happening? I have to be strong and powerful. But as I learned to embrace fear I allowed myself to feel open and vulnerable. These feelings opened up another feeling of strong compassion for others. Along with a sense of wanting to reach out to help others and ask for help when I needed it.

I used fear to propel me into unknown territories. Each time I opened up to my fears I felt them diminish a little more. I have soon discovered that there was nothing to fear but fear itself. Recently I opened up a Coffee Shop. Each day I face my fears. Sometimes I feel defeated and vulnerable – sometimes I feel strong and victorious. But, I do know that each day’s challenges and fears of the day bring forth immeasurable joy and satisfaction when I realize how far I have come. From each fear I discover an opportunity to grow. I believe when used in the right way fear can be my friend.

Fear did not mold me, it did not shape me, but instead propelled me to discover things about myself, other people, and the world around me. It opened me up. When fear in the form of panic attacks began to close in on me, I felt my world grow smaller and smaller. It became a challenge to go to the grocery store, to visit friends, or go out for a meal. The world was closing in on me. Was this to become the shape of my life and existence, a life lead by fear? I found as I fought against the fear as an enemy it became stronger. Slowly with time, energy, and focus I began to open up to it and allow it to flow through me. Little by little the grip fear had on me began to diminish. As the tight grip began to ease I saw my world begin to open up to me again. My small five minute trips to the grocery store became longer. Within time fear was no longer my focus. Instead I began connecting with what was in front of me with life and with others. As my confidence grew I took delight in traveling long distances. I wanted to see, experience, and feel the world like never before. It was as if I was tasting everything for the first time.

In my life I have since never been afraid to try something new. Life is full, brimming with endless possibilities. Fear taught me that. I am not saying that I do not feel afraid. As a human being I am afraid every day. But, instead of letting fear control me, I learn to recognize it, understand it, and let it go. Fear has helped me grow and has made me strong.