Monday, December 30, 2013

Are you scared? Good. That means you're doing something right.

Fear. You know, that feeling of intense anxiety that creeps up your body from the floor when you are faced with something you don't want to do. Something you're scared of. Something that makes you nervous or uncomfortable. Fear can be a relatively challenging emotion to deal with, because it can often be all consuming.

I have focused the last half of 2013 on facing my fears, specifically those on the emotional level. For the first time ever, I find myself expressing sincere emotion to my family, friends, guys I'm interested in, guys I'm not interested in. Gone are the days that I bottle up the way I feel or leave things out of conversation so as not to have to delve too far into my feelings.

This is not to say that I have been, by any means, dishonest or a liar throughout my life. I'm honest. I always tell the truth. But you can tell the truth without expressing your deepest feelings of things that make you uncomfortable. And I am trying my damndest to not do that. To not keep things on a surface level. To be truly sincere in what I do.

The results have been amazing. I have stronger relationships, deeper friendships, and overall I am just more content and happy because I can go to bed at night knowing that I was genuine with the people around me.

When you tell someone the blunt honest truth about something, they really can't argue with you about it. You've been sincere, and there's not really anywhere else to go from there. Example? You can turn down a date in an "I'm busy" type manner, in an attempt to spare someone's feelings, but they will likely then just ask you out again at a time where you are less busy. You are then face to face with the same scenario - the one where you don't want to be mean but you don't want to date this person. Wouldn't it have just been better to say in the first place, hey I have to be totally honest and tell you that I'm not interested in more than a casual friendship? It may feel awkard at first, but it saves everyone time and energy, and in the end is the better thing to do.

Being honest about my feelings has always been a challenge for me; well, maybe not being honest necessarily, but expressing my feelings vocally. I have a hard time saying out loud what my feelings are, especially when it means a serious conversation must take place. What I have learned this year by practicing, by making it a focal point, is that it becomes easier and easier the more you do it. The more time I spend in meaningful conversation, the more time I spend expressing that I do deeply care about someone, the less often that I say those awful little sentences like "I'm fine," the better things are.

In the same regard, how many things have you missed out on because you are scared? Because you're nervous or uncomfortable? I have made an effort to not skip out on things, to not let fear hold me back from branching out, from trying something new, from accepting a date or a challenge or a project at work. What's the worst that can happen? Maybe I fail, maybe I trip, maybe there's nothing there between me and said date. But at least I tried. I stood up and forged ahead with something (or someone) that made me nervous.

Moving into 2014, what could you be doing differently to embrace your life, to follow your heart? What fears could you be facing?