“Are you an extrovert or an introvert? I think I'm too extroverted as an introvert while too introverted as an extrovert. Whatever it is, I know that I have no difficulties in socializing with people or speaking out my mind, while I'm often found to be quiet, hiding in some corner doing my own things, or simply wandering and getting lost in my own world. I welcome others to get to know me but I barely talk about myself (because, well, who cares!?) even though I love the idea of exchanging experiences and sharing knowledge.
Why did I bring this up? I do think that some of us find it easier to open up about ourselves than others, definitely not me, but what I'm about to share with you today is something I consider to be intimate.
I believe it is, in broad terms, simply the deepest and often scariest emotional level of all. Possibly also one of the most avoided topics, isn't it? Great, so let's start with this first before we move on to talk about anything else in the upcoming chapters.
Not Love, or Success, or Anger.
This is what I wrote on my then blog called 'Colors of Z' in my early twenties, while I was going through the toughest crisis years of my life yet with tremendous fear. May is the month of mental health awareness, but I believe that taking care of our mental health and supporting each other should be our everyday practice. So if you’re like me and feeling nervous about something right now, well... read long because '2018' Zip had something to share :)
“Fear can be very powerful. Fear poses a great impact on our Mind (how we think), our Energy (how we express), and our Actions (how we act). Fear alone is a form of Energy. Without controlling our Mind to confront it, and our Actions to do "something" about it, we might not be able to achieve success, or happiness, or love, or anything else that we dream of, at all.
A lot of people associate Fear with Insecurity. I'd say that Insecurity is a form of Fear, but not vice versa. If Insecurity is the lack of confidence that tends to hold us back, then Fear, on the other hand, could be the fuel to boost our motivations to achieve what we want in life.
I believe having fear is a positive thing if we know how to manage it.
I think I've always been very transparent about how I feel with myself — it's like, if my emotions were human beings, they'd look all naked to me. No joke! If I feel unhappy, I'll admit to myself that I'm unhappy; if I feel scared, I'll admit to myself that I'm scared; if I feel angry, I'll admit to myself that I'm angry. I don't try to fool myself into thinking that I feel happy while I don't. I personally find it working better for me to acknowledge the existence of my negative feelings and take necessary actions rather than pretend that these negative feelings have never been present.
I have... two. enormous. fears.
MEDIOCRITY. They say that if your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough. I'm not sure if mine is big enough yet, but I'm certainly scared. I try my best to stay focus on meeting my short-term goals so they could keep me moving forward, but mannnn... when I take a step back to see how far I am from reaching the finish line and how bumpy the road still looks ahead, it's pretty nerve-racking. If the end goal that I want to reach were a painting, I'd try my best to make sure that every brushstroke I was about to make would look perfect. But what if I messed up even just one stroke, or I used the wrong color, or I ran out of colors, or the brush I was using suddenly fell apart which would be totally out of my control? I guess I would still end up having a painting, but would I still be able to turn it into a masterpiece?
I find people who have passions inspiring. Being passionate about something doesn't necessarily mean that you have to be great at it, but I believe having some sort of passions and pursuing them does make life more purposeful. Who says chasing dreams is easy? I find it scary, very scary, but fascinating. I wish every stroke I painted were perfect, but it never happens that way in reality. I've learned to embrace failures, and speaking of that, I've failed multiple times and in multiple aspects of life; but it's certainly taught me how to avoid making the same mistakes in the future and that having multiple backup plans is never excessive.
DISCONTENT. Another big fear I have is probably the question that many of us have in common: 'Will I be happy?' Even though we all want happiness, I don't think it has one universal definition. But you know what? There's really no formula to create happiness either; it's not like, if you imitate what others do to achieve happiness, you will be guaranteed to get happiness.
I guess how we define happiness can also change over time. I used to gain satisfaction from things like achievements, popularity, or the status of being in a relationship. But I don't even bother worrying about being likable anymore. I may be naive, but I believe firmly in my integrity and it feels just enough. I now find happiness in having a purpose, living it, making an impact, helping others, and pushing self-limits.
However, I believe that there's a gap between being happy and being content. There are times that I feel happy but not necessarily content about life. Have you ever felt that way? As I keep thinking about it, I've realized that happiness alone is simply the result of personal satisfaction, achievement, or pleasure. In other words, happiness can be seen as a somewhat "selfish" emotional state. Although it is a necessary condition to reach contentment, it's not sufficient.
I believe contentment comes from the fulfillment that goes beyond our self-served interests.”
A few months after I wrote this which was about three years ago, I decided to stop blogging and archive my website altogether. My self-doubt then was bigger than my self-trust. However, my fears were what continued pushing me forward; and even though I've evolved from my fears at the time, I’m still constantly learning from my younger self to transform what I’m fearful of into meaningful actions. The past year hasn't been easy but I'm thankful that it's allowed me to reconnect with my inner child and have enough courage to give myself a second chance... without counting the days, I still can’t believe that it’s already been more than a year since I started creating again!
I hope you can also see for yourself that fear is not a sign of weakness nor negativity, but a necessity for our personal breakthroughs and social revolutions. There would be no great inventions if we were not fearful of status quo, no movements for sustainability if we were not fearful of climate change, no actions taken on racial issues if we were not fearful of injustice, and the list never ends.
Is there anything that you’re fearful of? If yes, embrace and grow with it for it is also a blessing ;)