Leaning into Fear

Do you remember the first moment you felt afraid? For me, it was probably when I ran out of cheese puff snacks as a 2-year-old and I thought I would never get more snacks again. So I cried until my mom gave me more snacks. (Side note: I am realizing I still cry for snacks).

In all seriousness, fear is a big mountain in many of our lives. When I ask people why they are afraid of changing or growing, this is what I often hear: 

“I am afraid of letting someone down.” 

“I am afraid to fail.”

“I am afraid I won’t be good enough.”

“I am afraid that I am not ready.” 

“I am afraid I won’t pass the test.” 

“I am afraid that I don’t have enough money.” 

“I am afraid that I will suck.”

“I am afraid that no one will show up.” 

“I am afraid that they won’t love me back.”

“I am afraid that I won’t get that job.”

“I am afraid of what they will say, think, and believe about me.” 

Have you ever said any of those statements? Have you ever declared out loud what keeps you scared and unable to move forward? 

I will be honest with you. I have said all of those sentences. I have felt all of those fears. I have lived in those doubts for many, many years. Now that I am on the other side of self-doubt and living deeply in a place of self-love and joy, it’s hard to think about how fearful I once felt on a daily basis. 

But here is what I know now: Fear steals joy. Fear steals dreams. Fear is what steals beautiful beginnings. And in many ways, fear is a big roadblock of healing. 

Fear shows up in our lives in many ways. Fear is why we:

  • Never chase our dreams
  • Stay with hurtful people
  • Believe toxic thoughts 
  • Develop anxiety 
  • Battle depression 
  • Define ourselves by limiting beliefs 
  • Stay in a job we hate 
  • Overcommit ourselves 
  • Stop taking care of ourselves
  • Gain weight and stop investing in our health 
  • Develop destructive habits 
  • Lose hope in possibilities and never pursue our dreams 

This past weekend, I was afraid to run a half marathon because I had ankle surgery this year. I also didn’t get a chance to train well. However, my body felt ready. I told myself, “This race is what you need to build your confidence back up again.” 

I went to bed the night before my race thinking I might not race in the morning. I had a head cold. I was tired. I spent all day teaching. And that fear gremlin was telling me that I couldn’t finish the race. But, I woke up early. I went to the race alone. I turned on my headphones, and when the race started, I turned on Lizzo and ran my little heart out. I was feeling amazing until mile 9 when I wanted to give up. My hips were sore. My sciatic nerve was on fire. But my friend text me and he said, “Keep going! You’ll be thankful you didn’t give up when you’re done.” 

I kept thinking about the finish line and how amazing it feels to get a medal around your neck when you’re done. I wobbled all the way to the finish line. And now, 3 days later, I am planning my next half marathon on November 2. Because I proved fear is a liar. Because I proved that my mind and body are strong. When things got really hard, I found myself repeating the mantra, “My body is strong and healthy. I am capable of anything.” I had to tell myself that mantra so I didn’t think about how much pain I was in. 

How is fear showing up in your life? What consequences are you suffering from because you’re letting fear win? Reflect on your fear and figure out how to you can lean into what’s holding you back from moving forward. Remember, anxiety hates action. So, make a decision to not let fear win and give yourself a chance to prove that you’re amazing and capable of anything. I believe in you!

Much love,

Ashley