Doing the thing you’re afraid of can become pretty fun.
I’ll add a caveat that here I’m talking about our irrational fears, which are not an actual danger to our existence.
In this article I’m leaning more into the anxiety about the actions we want to do, not into the ones we “suddenly receive”.
There ARE some pretty solid rational fears that pose the risk to life and ARE useful to have – hunger, wilderness, height and things like that.
But most of the fears we experience in our society and everyday life are just stories in our head.
Think back to all the times you were scared shitless about something you wanted to do.
Maybe, if you still did the deed, afterwards that worry actually came true and it felt debilitating.
Think about the process and how it affected you then.
After a while, fear starts to fade away – only the notion of “struggle” remains and you forget all the details.
Instead you remember only what you got as a result, what you learned, how you handled it and how to do so again in the future.
For me one of the things that brought me to panic, was talking to unknown random people, in the street for example. Specifically I was afraid of saying something to girls, or even being noticed because of some way that I acted.
I had so many breakdowns because of this at the start. I was thinking that the world was gonna end when I didn’t do everything perfectly. It was a life and death moment for me, and I died each time I got into conversation.
When I am in some “terrifying” moment, it is easy to think about every decision as the ultimate test of “Am I even allowed to live?”.
I think that I am making the biggest mistake of my life, even though in reality it can be just some meaningless words I say to a random person.
Fear exemplifies everything.
Funny thing that it is not constant. It loses its grasp after some time.
After a couple of days, or even hours, the perspective starts to change – I realize that nothing really bad is happening.
It can feel awful in the moment, but life still goes on.
And as it does, I just cannot be bothered anymore to relive that situation again.
After a while, all that remains as an aftertaste – the fact that I went through my fear and did something I wanted to.
I was true to myself.
It all ties down to the fear of the unknown.
Actual results and consequences can be relatively easily dealt with in some way.
“But what if something critical happens instead?”.
When you experience that consciously a couple of times, it becomes funny to think about:
It is always the same process no matter what you are trying to handle. Become afraid. Push yourself to do it. Think you made a grave mistake. Enjoy results, internal or material. And then forget about the fear itself the days after.
That is a damn hilarious process to experience!
You can laugh about the fact that while it ultimately ends in the same way, each time you are still afraid to do it.
You always think that something new could happen… But it just doesn’t.
After doing it so many times, now when faced with some new fear, the first thing that comes into my mind is –
“Welp, let’s see if THIS time it will be different…”
It becomes “my thing”, I know the process so well at that point.
Don’t get me wrong, it is still hard to do most of the time – I never actually know what’s gonna happen and I need to “be prepared for anything”.
But laughing about it from the very beginning relaxes me a bit.
At the very least, it becomes much easier to start doing the actions.
So I want to leave you today with this mindset:
Starting something new is horrifying, especially without much experience. It is ok, it is expected.
But, Fuck It, do that anyway.
Use whatever you can to push yourself at the start even if it feels like a “cheat” – rewards, brainwashing, peer pressure, friends physically shoving you in the direction of the person you want to talk to.
Experience this cycle of fear and relief for a couple of times.
It IS gonna get easier, trust me.
Your fears can give you excitement instead of constraining anxiety.
You will gain trust that you can handle anything that comes your way.