If you’re afraid to do it, do it afraid.

fearless‘Be gentle, truthful and fearless.’ – Gandhi

What are you frightened of? Anything that stops you living your life to the full, whether it’s fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of the future can all impact on your life. Yet it is possible to overcome that detrimental negative thinking. You may never be completely fearless but you can learn to break out of your comfort-zone and find the freedom to take your life to a new level.

‘If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them.’ –  Dalai Lama

Abandoned by my mother at an early age, I grew to avoid making anything other than superficial relationships. Whilst I longed for love and connection, there was the possibility that I would be discarded. Accepting this as a truth, my dread of rejection progressed to a deeper level to a fear of attachment.

Unfortunately my father reinforced an even more deep-rooted fear in me. His abusive and dysfunctional words and behaviour towards me installed the conviction that I wasn’t good enough. Not for anything or for anybody. He manipulated my perception to the point that I was not only ashamed of whom I was but of who I thought I would become.

The reality as I progressed into adulthood was that I was terrified of being ‘me’ at every level. I wanted to speak up but I was frightened of being heard. I wanted to reveal my personality but I was frightened of being seen. I wanted to love, but I was frightened of being loved.

‘Sometimes our first and greatest dare is asking for support.’ ~ Brené Brown

As the years passed, so did my spiral into depression and alcoholism. Both however reinforced my sense of blame and inadequacy. And whilst on the outside I wore a mask of happiness, confidence and fearlessness, inwardly I lived with terror that gripped my mind, body and soul.

Of course I never asked for help because I was too flawed, too damaged and too unlovable, to allow anyone into my imperfect world. Consequently it wasn’t until I hit absolute physical and mental rock-bottom that others intervened to save me from myself.

Once of the greatest challenges I faced when I started on my journey to recovery was to let other people to nurture, comfort and guide me. For me, asking for support was to reveal my complete failure as a human being. But how wrong I was. For I learned that by reaching out, I not only found the way to move on from my past insecurities but I gained courage and strength in the process. Yet really it all began with a cry for help.

‘For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.’                     ~2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

So if you’re battling with an inner voice that consistently criticises and demeans, be encouraged. Just as you have been brain-washed to listen only to the negative, so too can you bring those dark thoughts into the light, confront them for what they are and develop an encouraging and fearless mentality. 

For me, it was easier to look to my faith to provide the support that I needed so badly. For it wasn’t simply my body and mind that were broken, but my spirit and soul. The gentle breath of faith helped me to heal from within, and remains with me today.

if you're afraid to do it, do it afraidRecovery has taken many years and although I do still experience the sensation of fear, it no longer controls me through depression and alcoholism. I do indeed have a sound mind, a vibrant spirit and a compassionate soul. They form the basis of my ability to love and be loved. That is power.

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.

And if you’re afraid to do it, do it afraid!

‘Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.’ ~ Mark Twain.

Letter to my inner child.

Vulnerable, raw, fearful. That generally describes how I felt as a child growing up. Yet even after years of breakthrough and healing there are occasions as an adult when I hurtle backwards in time and my thoughts are of that of an overwhelmed eight year old or a terrified teenager.

It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does my whole body numbs. My mind goes blank. My emotions however run riot. Any sense of serenity escapes me and even my faith feels as if is beyond my grasp. Thankfully today I have experience of recovery and psychological strength to draw on. I can remind myself of how far I’ve come and how far I have to go. I can reach out to others who in turn can remind me of my worth. And my faith which never leaves me becomes bright and forceful in my life again.

But as a child dealing with abandonment and abuse I had no way of knowing how to deal with the hurt. And no adult to help guide or reassure. I often wished that I could have written to my inner child during those trouble times. those times. It could have read:

“Dear little one,

When your mother left you never to return – it wasn’t your fault. When your father made you into a commodity for himself and others – it wasn’t your fault. You don’t have to go through the rest of your life carrying the burden of guilt that was not yours to carry. Put down the shame and walk away.

The words spoken over you that left you believing you were worthless and unlovable were lies. You are precious. But don’t go trying to replace the love you should have had by seeking out a mother who will reject you further, or from other men who will abuse you again.

Look inside your heart. Look inside your soul. The treasure that is ‘you’ is waiting to be nurtured and released. Trust your quiet determination that lies within. You will survive.”

The letter didn’t exist for me as child but all the same, I survived. My journey through life continues to both challenge and amaze me. Sober, peaceful and fearless is how I would describe how I feel today. But sometimes I need to reassure myself as I would a child. Today the letter reads:

“My loved one,

Hold on, Keep strong. Everything’s going to be alright.”

Yes, it is.

Images thanks to the amazing Katie m. Berggren