Why Is Fear the Bad Guy?

And Why I Choose Fear Over Complacency

I am guilty of a few things in life. But my biggest one might be choosing fear as the excuse as to why I can’t or won’t do something. I blame it. It is fears fault- not mine! This is a mistake I have made in the past, and foreseeably and unfortunately, maybe a mistake I will make in the future.

But I will work hard to catch myself before I blame, and here is why:

My best friend and I have coined the term, “comfort anxiety”. I am someone who gets full panic mode anxiety if I find myself in one place for too long. But on the contrary, the minute I fly off to foreign lands, whether physically or metaphorically, that same anxiety creeps into my gut.

Some days it feels as if I can’t win. 

“Do you want a life of adventure or do you want a life of safe, yet borderline boring, comfort?!”

“Both!” comfort anxiety shouts back at me!

Nice.

So I get it, fear gets in the way. That’s usually what my anxiety is masked as. Fear of staying in one place, but also fear of leaving that cozy little comfort zone.

It’s an easier entity to blame. Everyone knows fear- that’s the easiest excuse.  We often hear quotes such as, “faith over fear!” but in my unsolicited opinion, we cannot reach full faith unless we force ourselves through fear. Honestly, the two might be close buddies.

So you know what I think gets in the way more than fear? What can stop you dead in your tracks, without you even noticing? A silent stalker?

Complacency.

And that shit is scary. That’s actually quite freakier in my book. Fear is something you can feel vividly, you can move through it (maybe reluctantly), you can size it up, stare it down, and/or you can choose to run from it. But it’s with fear that opportunity and choice come pouring into our veins.

Complacency is silent. It’s still, it’s an entity that freezes you, but leaves you warm and comfortable.

You barely notice it is there, until later you realize you haven’t moved forward the way you thought you would. You haven’t danced along life’s fragile edge. You haven’t flirted with your wildest dream, and you haven’t challenged your mind, body, or spirit, the way they were made to. Don’t get me wrong- there are plenty of things that we might need to be complacent about- but I’d argue that the majority of our lives we should be running- no sprinting- away from complacency. The catch? Exposing it in the first place takes an eye full of wisdom.

This world is too beautiful and as cliche as it is, our lives are too short to be on cruise control. How sad it would be if we were to allow others to steer our own ship? How sad would it be to fear fear itself, as if that is what might actually hold us back?

I understand, some days are better lived in survival mode, some days that’s the best we can do- complacency keeps us alive.

But I hope most days you work to thrive and that means knocking on fears front door.

I view fear as a decrepit, yet magical, old house, with one front door. It looks like a classic horror film- it’s a house you yell at the actors on the screen to, “Stay away- are you dumb?”

The house of complacency is a picket white fence. It has bright open windows, beautiful and charming features, a huge corner lounge sofa, with a basket of blankets in the front room. Everything about it invites you in. Once you are in, you ask yourself- why would I ever leave?

But what you don’t see from the old decrepit ferocity of a house, is that once you enter that crickety old door, you open up into a whole new universe. Your mind would have guessed that you would enter a dark and dusty room, filled with cobwebs of your past and predictions of a bleak future. But instead it opens into a brightly lit hallway with a sign that reads, “Pick any door- they are all the right one!”

I see it this way. You either are working to move through fear, or you are working to sit in complacency, both are work, but I hope you choose movement.

Why else would we be given bodies that move gracefully and lungs that breathe joyfully in the presence of opportunity?

Your choice, fear or complacency, is a decision that will solidify your wisdom and understanding of yourself and the world. It’s hard work to do, but it’s important.

I hope you find each door that spooks you just a little bit, and push that sucker open as if your life depended on it.

It sort of does.

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