After years of thinking I needed to “overcome” all my fears before taking action, one observation made all the difference
When “rationality” is fear in disguise
Every step of the way, fear has cast its familiar shadow. Fear of not getting a job amidst the 2008 financial crisis. Fear of making the wrong choices. Fear of illness. And so on.
I had considered my fears entirely rational and absolute truth. Reflections of the inexorable laws of nature and economics. Furthermore, as a modern “fearless” woman, I wasn’t supposed to have fears anyway.
Whenever I had an idea to create anything or to do something outside the Traditional Life Path, I told myself, “I’ll do X when I have addressed all of my rational concerns.”
That would make sense, right? To first “overcome” all of my fears before taking action.
I’m thankful for the educational and career momentum I’ve had over the past 10 years. Yet oddly, as a result of this way of thinking, I still felt “stuck.”
Desires > fears
About this time last year, when I was discerning my next steps and had just started making art again, I met with some people whom I admired. I realized that they didn’t live in an alternate universe, where there was nothing to fear.
They lived in the same world, with the same physical and economic hazards. They weren’t 100% “fearless” either. They woke up in the middle of the night with their concerns too.
However, I noticed that one difference was that their desires outweighed their fears. They were clear on their desires. They wanted them strongly enough that they were willing to do what they could to manage their fears and pursue their desires anyway. They weren’t waiting for their fears to go away entirely.
They would take one small step and then another in the direction of their dreams, with their fears and desires side by side, forever.
This observation inspired the artwork above. Big thank you to the brave folks who contributed your fears and desires!