How to deal with fear (if you are me)

1. Live your life trying to avoid dangerous or fear-inducing activities. Achieve, buy, and try to please people. Only act on sure things and take very few risks. Hang out at the bar where the biggest fear you’ll experience is it closing too early, what people think of you or whether your shoes match your dress.

2. When that feels bad enough, and you are empty enough, sit in your living room clutching a wine-glass full of juice with your shaky hand, and notice what you’ve been reduced to by attempting to avoid/drown out your fear.

3. Understand that being terrified of facing life without the magical substance which used to fill the glass may in fact be a terrible waste of your life.

4. Face life as it is, as you are. Look at it, notice it, question it. Yes, it’s a mess. Realise that your biggest fear is in fact not life, but of living one which doesn’t truly belong to you.

5. Ask yourself, what life would you have if fear wasn’t an issue? What would you do? Where would you go? Who with?

6. Now walk towards that life, with fear as your companion. Remember, the old life that sucked you dry and reduced you to the hand-shaking juice drinker didn’t scare you while you were creating it. It was comforting; it felt safe while it was destroying you. Realise that fear isn’t a bad thing, it is your guide towards transformation.

7. Understand that thoughts and feelings aren’t facts. Your ego likes to mess with you, that’s it’s job. Tell your ego thanks for it’s input but you’re done listening to it. You’d rather fail than give in to a small, safe, suffocating life. It won’t like it, and will start throwing worst case scenarios at you like artillery fire. Dodge and duck, and keep walking. It will soon get tired.

8. Do the things that scare you MOST in order to live the life which excites you most. You know what they are. Selling your house and leaving your job happen to be two big ones. Writing about yourself, traveling sober, driving across India, jumping from a plane and helping someone in need are a few more. Committing to one person who knows the worst and best of you is another. Do those things, knowing they will be hard.

9. Cry, a lot. Despair, a lot. Feel like you can’t make it, a lot. Pray and meditate. How and to whom is none of your concern. Just do it because it gives you relief from your racing, pacing, fear-mongering mind, and, you are surprised to learn, it actually works.

10. Enjoy the moments of pure elation where life opens up and becomes brighter and bigger than you ever imagined. Have your mind blown regularly, blasting out old ideas and ways of thinking that held you back for so long. Allow your heart to explode with compassion and love, making room for more.

11. Stop, pause and look around. Notice your life. It’s not perfect but it feels like yours and you love it. It is unrecognizable from the one you left behind. You like yourself so much more now and it is such a freaking relief to feel like you are finally living the life you were made for.

12. Realise that your life is no longer controlled by fear even though you still have some. Know that while your old fears have disappeared, there’s more waiting around the next bend to take you through your next phase of growth. Embrace your fear as an old friend, one who has seen you through the amazing journey of your life.

13. Be glad and grateful for it all, especially the tough stuff. It was all meant for you to become exactly who you are.

14. Walk toward your future with fear as your guide. It will take you where you need to go.

*Disclaimer: And if you are not me, you’ll find your own way of dealing with fear.

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How to deal with fear (if you are me) — 23 Comments

  1. I love this post but especially LOVE number 8! It is so easy to get caught up in the life you feel people want you to have or to dream but convince yourself you can’t do what you really want. Blogs like yours have been so inspiring!
    Emily recently posted..Guadalajara’s CharmMy Profile

  2. I love this — your writing just keeps getting more and more beautiful! I love the goal of fear being a catalyst and a guide.

    Thank you.
    Aurora recently posted..30 for 30sMy Profile

  3. Number 8 really resonates with me – do the things that scare you the most, in order to live the life that excites you the most.

    I don’t know about fear (as in, sheer terror), but I definitely hesitated and held back from doing what I really wanted to do because I found too many reasons to stop myself. And in some ways, the time for that wasn’t right earlier, either. But now that I’m doing what I want to do, and living the life that I want, I won’t look back! Splitting my time living between Australia and Pakistan makes me so happy, and when I think of the ‘dangers’ or ‘possibilities’, I also think of your second point – what kind of life would I live if I wasn’t doing this? Also, lets not forget throwing caution to the wind!

    Thank you for posting this, it’s a very personal post, and a very meaningful post, which obviously takes a certain amount of courage to write. It nicely sums up the past couple of years of my life :)
    Tim | UrbanDuniya recently posted..Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka’s ‘little Britain’?My Profile

    • Thanks so much Tim! Fear is the basis for so many other emotions; sometimes it is just a minor hesitation and other times unbridled anxiety. I’m someone who has had a lot of fear in my life, in fact, the way I responded to it in the past led me to a lot of unhappiness and other problems. Now, I still have it, but I see it differently, which makes all the difference.
      So glad you are living the life you want and are not giving in to fear! All the best to you!
      Sarahsomewhere recently posted..How to deal with fear (if you are me)My Profile

  4. Dear Sarah

    Your article really resonates with me, thank you for your honesty. How many times have I feared a situation or outcome, only to come through to the other side stronger and loving the feeling of overcoming my fear. Every time I resist or fight change, I remember that powerful feeling of a recent event where I fought the fear. But gee … there is sometimes a screaming Claire in my head, who wants to resist and hold onto current situation, which don’t work anymore. Life is about constant learning.

    “Every day you wait is another day that you will never get back again. the most important thing is not to be bitter about life’s disappointments. Learn to let go of the past. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes because most of the time the greatest rewards come from doing the things that scare you the most. Maybe you’ll get everything you wish for. Maybe you’ll get more than you ever could have imagined. Who knows where life can take you? The road is long and in the end the journey is your destination”

    Good luck on creating the next chapter of your journey,as you say goodbye to Playa Del Carmen.

    Sending lots of love


    • Hi Claire! So lovely to hear from you and thank you for your beautiful comment. I love the quote (who is that?) and can also identify with the ‘screaming Sarah!’ in fact, she just came out two days ago as we arrived in the states from Mexico!!! Reading this has helped me put it into perspective again, thank you xoxo

  5. 11. “Be glad and grateful for it all, especially the tough stuff. It was all meant for you to become exactly who you are.”

    Yes. Absolutely. Everything happens for a reason, sometimes we aren’t privy to reasons and sometimes the reasons become clear way down the road, but it all happens for a reason and makes us who we are – live without regrets – even when we screw up because we learn best from the screw ups.
    Patti recently posted..See the USA – 12: Home Again ~My Profile

  6. I’m still working to find a healthy relationship with fear, but I do think that some degree of fear generally means we are on the right track and are taking the kind of risks that make life worth living and keep us evolving.

    Amen to #7 especially. Why are our egos always trying to get in the way and trip us up on the path to happiness?
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..A Traveler’s PrerogativeMy Profile

  7. Yes Yes Yes. Thank you for sharing.
    Fear is a constant throughout life. I love the idea of embracing fear and letting it be your guide. Wise words Sarah.

    I often find the fear itself is more frightening than actually doing some things, if that makes any sense… when I allow my brain to get carried away with all the doubts and what- if’s.
    Lauren @Roamingtheworld recently posted..Reflections of what I gained from my first year in SpainMy Profile

  8. I absolutely appreciate this post!!! Fear has been weighing heavy on my mind, the older I get. The world scares me but I’m more terrified of being on/near my deathbed and knowing I let fear conquer my life.