Beyond Denial: Fear Based Living
This year is dedicated for me to work on exploring and discovering who I really am so I can live an authentic and fulfilling life. Part of the effort to identify myself is by labeling personal traits. I could find some symptoms which hinders me to live a fulfilling life. And recently I just found another term over the Internet which could summarize them in three words.
Fear based living.
It’s so obvious that when fear takes place, we couldn’t reason dan make the best decision of our interests. Yet that’s exactly how my mind operates on decision making process. I always wanted to do what I really want to do. But that involves walking into uncertainties and taking risks. That’s when fear and anxiety creeps into mind and skew the thinking process.
Following these pattern always brought me to choose the “safest” decision. It seems safe because I could avoid risks and the unknowns. Are there no risk at all for the other decision? There is. But since it’s a familiar path that I already know how to cope with all the ins and outs hence the it is “safe”.
This is made worse by affirmations of others to whom I share my story and struggles. “That’s the best choice,” or so they say, raising my anxiety to even consider the alternatives.
But whenever I gave in to my fear and let it guide my decisions. I became resentful. Why am I like this? This is not the life I want.
Why should I become a lecturer? Why can’t I become a songwriter? Why should I become a businessman? Why can’t I become a farmer? Why should I own a house? Why can’t I live on a backpack? Why should I live in this city? Why can’t I live in other town or overseas?
How long have I been living like this? It’s been since my childhood as I search through my pasts. It’s hard to admit that it’s how the way I was taught during my childhood in family. Either by observing how people around me, especially parents, made their decisions, or by following the decisions imposed to my by them. Accepting this fact is a painful experience and made me angry.
How worse has it been affecting my life? It even prevents me to taste a new menu! I felt anxious everytime I considered ordering food at new restaurant or picking new menu. In group setting, I often defaulted to letting others pick the menu. I didn’t know why it made me anxious until recently. As ridiculous as it sounds, it’s the fear of being embarrassed because I don’t know how to eat the proper way. Should I use fork and knife? Or do I use hands to eat? Should I eat the salad first, or the chicken first? Should I pay before I eat? What if I don’t like the food? What if it is so spicy that I couldn’t it? What if the portion is too big that I end up wasting the food? What if it’s too little that I had to order more? What if others think I eat too much?
For so long have I been working this way, it would takes a lot of effort and time to unlearn this fear based living habit. While I have my inner self critics to overcome, I also have to face disapproval of others who think my choices are risky or not the best or anything they would say. I can’t control what other thinks and do but surely I could control what I thought and what I do, at least consciously.
One step at a time.
Oh how I wish there is a quick fix for all my problems. Unfortunately, there isn’t any. One courageous step at a time. No matter how small or big the decision is. Be it following my wish to taste some new food, or expressing my feelings, or venturing new places, or saying no, or asking a girl out for a date, or quitting my job, or making my dreams come true.
I have been ordering new menus when I eat out. And I discovered my new favorite at that restaurant, a honey-covered grilled fish! And I also discovered some menus that taste bad. Now I have more topics to talk to when hanging out with friends.
I am also working towards my dreams. One of which involves moving out of the city. There are a lot of fear thoughts. Fear of losing my friends. Fear of not getting decent job and income. Fear of living in bad neighborhood. Fear of missing out opportunities in current city. Fear of the unknowns. But I’m going there. Yes. I can. Towards fulfilling life I go.