Fearless and free.

soar“If you’re afraid to do it, do it afraid.” Life can be scary. Change can be terrifying. But fear can restrict and overwhelm to the point that your life isn’t your own.

If you’re captive of your past, living with an anxiety-filled present or dreading the future, then learning how to live fearlessly will set you free.

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.”  Mark Twain.

Anyone who has experienced an abusive relationship will know what it is like to be living in fear. Whether it’s physically, verbally or mental abuse, you learn to anticipate and react in a certain way. And when your worst fears are realised, you are made to believe it was your fault and you become uneasy of ‘the next time’.

Similarly, low self-esteem can make facing new situations, people or places a source of trepidation. Your mind fills with every negative scenario and statement imaginable. And this can spiral into a self-fulfilling prophesy of failure and rejection.

“We are afraid to care too much, for fear that the other person does not care at all.” Eleanor Roosevelt

As a child, my abandoning mum and my abusing dad had ensured that I learnt to never truly trust, attach or love anyone. I grew into adulthood believing everyone had the potential to harm me in some way or another. Alcohol gave me the courage to not care if, or more often, when they did.

My addiction was a direct result of not just an extreme apprehension of others but of an unnatural mistrust of myself. Complete lack of self-worth meant that I would do anything to numb the feelings of inadequacy. Convinced that my values, instincts and intelligence were inferior to everyone else fed into my foreboding of defeat and ridicule.

Whether real or imagined, fear controlled my life and my life was out of control.

“Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Confronting my addiction and starting on the path to recovery was quite simply the most terrifying period of my life. It meant redefining my concept of fear and changing my perception of myself and others. And that wasn’t an easy choice to make, but it was totally necessary if I was going to be free to live my life as the person I was meant to be.

I worked hard to develop the courage to accept, trust and love myself. But as I did I was able to find the strength to confront and challenge fear. I would remind myself “If you’re afraid to do it, do it afraid.”flower

It doesn’t mean that I don’t get scared. In fact I’m still a cautious person who finds it hard to take risks. And everyday situations like meeting new people still make me nervous. But I am no longer captive to fear and its negative consequences.

Today I don’t fight the fear. I welcome it in the form of excitement and anticipation. I rise above it and use it as motivation. I go through it and come out the other side stronger.

For me that is living a life fearless and free. What about you? Are you fearless and free?

Top image: The Courage to Soar thanks to 3 Wishes Creations  http://www.etsy.com/shop/3WishesCreations

51 thoughts on “Fearless and free.

  1. Pingback: Misleading world, stress, technique, superficiality, past, future and positivism | From guestwriters

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  3. Fear the most common factor which all of us confront in some point of life. I read somewhere as a child god made us fearless we learn fear day by day from our environment , parents, relative etc.
    But when we realize we are more bigger than our fear that time we able to crack the puzzle.

    Wonderful post. Need your review on my post. Thanks

  4. ****Today I don’t fight the fear. I welcome it in the form of excitement and anticipation. I rise above it and use it as motivation. I go through it and come out the other side stronger.***

    Powerful. Beautiful. Xx

  5. I deal with this every time heights are involved. Once it’s over I feel silly for being scared, but I am working through it and trying to overcome what I call an irrational fear. Lovely post 🙂 never be afraid to try.

    • Well done on working through your fear of heights. It doesn’t matter what it is we are afraid of, it’s how it controls our lives that makes the difference. I really don’t like heights either and it is one of those things that I do have to remember to ‘do it afraid.’ 🙂

  6. Great article, Carolyn. We all need courage to soar! Love this: “Today I don’t fight the fear. I welcome it in the form of excitement and anticipation. I rise above it and use it as motivation. I go through it and come out the other side stronger.” Absolutely, my friend! :))

  7. I’m so glad to have the opportunity to read your blog posts again ;). It’s so true that we all must allow ourselves to feel the fear and do it anyway – this is the best way to make fear our friend and ally and therefore move forward with grace!

  8. Carolyn, love that quote of yours….”If you’re afraid to do it…do it afraid!”…your writing always touches my heart, you have such a way with painting with words. Rising above the fear and using it as motivation is such an excellent strategy of courage, trust and love.

  9. I love your phrase “If you’re afraid to do it, do it afraid!” When I heard the Susan Jeffers’ book title “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” a few decades ago, I realized that’s pretty much how I was raised. My upbringing was far from ideal, but I sure wish I could have shared it with you, Carolyn …

  10. Great post Carolyn!
    I love the poster you made and the quotes, esp. the one by Emerson. I’ve been working on this, too. I was a very timid child and have done more lately to get out of the box and do things I wouldn’t normally do. A lot of time it’s just small things but it makes me very proud of myself. But I love the idea of doing it with fear instead of not doing at all!

  11. Oh my gosh, Carolyn – I could so relate. Fear (in my case fear as a result of loving / living with a number of alcoholics for some 40 years) was such a crippler – I had no idea that was the source of my staying “stuck.” But in time, through therapy, AlAnon, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, mindfulness practices, exercise, nutrition, sleep and years of research and new understandings, I faced down my fears and am now living a life like I could never have imagined. It’s truly awesome! Thanks for your wonderful post!!

    • You are such a source of inspiration to me Lisa! You are such a strong woman on so many levels and a wonderful example of how crippling fear can be overcome. Years of hard work and continued work, but so worth it!

  12. Thank You so much for this!
    My goal for 2013xis to follow my dream to touch womens lives on a global level with my talks. Am I afraid..Ofcourse..But I love your opening line ““If you’re afraid to do it, do it afraid.”

    Thanks for this amazing post.

    Love your work! I have to have you on my blog. You deserve the limelight.

  13. I like that, Carolyn. “If you’re afraid to do it, do it afraid!” I can totally relate to the childhood stuff. I know for myself, everything I deal with relates back to the environment I was raised in. It turned into a lifetime project. But, I gotta keep moving forward and make the best of each day. And, as you said, do it afraid. Thanks for sharing your journey with us, Carolyn. It takes courage to talk about this stuff. 🙂

    • Thank you for your encouragement Marianne. There are so many of us for whom turning around the effects of our childhood have become a lifetime recovery, but the important thing is that we are moving forward and living in the present day.

  14. Carolyn, this was a very timely post for me. Today I have started therapy again, with a therapist I feel very positive about, and one of my goals is to conquer my fears, which have been crippling for me in some areas. Your words are inspiring – thank you!

  15. I also like to twist my fearful feelings around, and think of them as excitement instead! Also, because generally it is my thoughts that create the fear, I try to remember that most of my thoughts are just automatic bits of data churned out by my head – and that I do not need to take them all seriously. However, tying to disregard the useless thoughts is definately a challenge, to say the least, especially with those ‘sticky’ thoughts, that seem to churn you stomach up within milliseconds!

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