For longest time, I thought that the opposite of love was hate. But the deeper I dive into life and read more books, I have come to the realization that in true essence, the absent of love isn’t hate but fear. When love lacks, be it in ourselves as individuals or as a collective, fear takes residence in the void. Oh Fear. The greatest hindrance to humanity. Fear has led many countries to war. Fear has destroyed marriages and good relationships. Fear has caused dreams to be abandoned and potential left untapped. Fear has caused many to withhold love and give themselves grace to be loved. Fear has increased arrogance, rose pride, lifted envy and jealousy and dehumanized the existence of life. What a small word that carries the magnitude of a tornado when we allow it to lead. Oh Fear.
So many of us are operating from a place of fear, whether we are consciously or unconsciously aware of it. Fear manifests in so many ways and take various forms that we often fail to detect it. For some, we experience fear in the form of procrastination. Some, it shows up in the form of doubt, others may have fear of being overpowered thus they take on jealousy, prideful nature and arrogance in order to feel empowered. Fear can be in a form of rejection, fear to love and commit, the fear of being. Whatever it is, Fear is not a spirit of God. It is not something we were born with. It is what we have come to learn and experience as an external force that often has found residence in our internal being. Let me be the one to say, Fear isn’t powerful than you, it only is when we allow it to be.
The fear of not being approved
How many of us truly embrace uniqueness? The act of being different. By creation, we were tailored and fibered differently to show case the multi-dimensional beauty of our boundless God. We are made unique for his Glory yet so often we fight to fit in the crowds we come into contact with because we want to be approved and chosen. We often trade our authenticity for approval in hope that if we follow and act like the crowd maybe we won’t be shut out. We fear that maybe our different will be deemed as crazy and odd, so we often give up our true self for a diluted version that is more ‘acceptable’ and society -pleasing’. We want to be chosen by the very people who can’t still choose themselves. We are often told we are too much by the very people that can’t define what ‘Enough” even looks like. Being chosen and accepted has become our fuel to meet the expectation of the people we meet. We change our accents, take on lifestyles we can’t maintain, be at places we don’t like, do the things that don’t even spark joy in us, change our very being in hope we will be meet the ‘clique” criterion, be it at work, in our families, our relationships or whatever space we walk in. But how beautiful are those that have come to embrace their difference and in knowing that, understand that’s what makes life beautiful. So, embrace that. Embrace you. Embrace your uniqueness. Embrace your difference. It is our differences that makes us special. There isn’t a replica of your DNA, there will never be and that’s your superpower. Harness that power. Hold it to the highest regard cause that’s what truly makes you YOU. If two of us are similar, then one of us is unnecessary. Be You. Truly and authentically.
The Fear of not being good enough
We doubt ourselves so many times. Gosh, I am so guilty of this. We often doubt our work. We doubt our abilities and capabilities. We doubt our strengths and potential. We continuously doubt who we are and called to be. Often, this doubt in ourselves is rooted in fear. The fear that we aren’t good enough or capable enough to carry out the works that we want to do. We often give ourselves the excuses that we aren’t well experienced, we are too young to make impact or the minority to do great work. We reason with our gender. We tie our backgrounds to our abilities, use our lack of resources and the insufficiency of time as a reason of settling for mediocracy and stepping into our best work. Fear has a way of convincing us that we are not capable. Coupled with insecurity, we often end up believing we are not good enough. So, we keep running away from opportunities that have the ability to teach us our greatest life lessons. We sit at the back of our meetings, quiet and afraid to express our opinions because we feel we don’t have the level of expertise of those sitting at the table. We avoid attending functions because we don’t feel equipped enough to be there. We doubt ourselves even in rooms we have worked hard to be. We continue to self-sabotage. We fear releasing our works, our books, our arts, our songs out of fear that maybe it will be perceived not excellent on a societal stand. I ask, “Why do we have so little trust in ourselves”? i wish i could answer that too but I part of the doubting Thomas crew. In you resides excellent work, brilliant ideas and world-changing innovations. Release it. Understand that no man achieved mastery in one go. It takes work. Work to believe in yourself and to own your abilities. So, know that you are good enough even in the learning process, and you always have been. But until we take that statement for ourselves and make it our personal truth, we will continue living life on the verge of fear and waiting to be validated by others. Understand that criticism doesn’t connote your inability to achieve great work, if for anything, it creates room for growth. Embrace it. Another person’s inability to see how great of a person you are and what you believe in, doesn’t make your work or you any less, it is not a reflection of your value. Not everyone will see the beauty of being you and that is okay. For now, I dare you to hold duality of boldness and fear into your hands. Dare to dream and be bold enough to do it. Do it afraid. You were created indeed for a time as this.
The fear of rejection
We have all experienced rejection in one way or another. It is inevitable because we won’t always be the ‘selected ones’ (but you are still God’s perfect selection though). Maybe a proposal refusal from the girl/ guy you really liked, an opportunity that you really wanted and prayed for, rejection from family or even friends. On the basis of humanity, we fear being rejected because it is painful. It diminishes our confidence and self-esteem. It makes us question ourselves. However, when we tie our identities to the events we experience in life, in time, we run the possibility of defining the nature of who we think we are based on them. A lie that can hinder us truly. For some that have been abandoned by parents, were not picked to suit a specific group, we get so caught in the rejection that we define ourselves and self worth off it. We become afraid to try, to believe and hope again and so often we play it safe, covering the fear under the guise of “protecting ourselves”. The fear of rejection inhibits our ability to go after new opportunities, to take the risk, to give it another shot and to see that yesterday isn’t like today. Rejection stops us from embracing the fact that a new day comes with new possibilities. The possibility of finding love, of walking into your dreams and whatever you desire to have and be. Rejection is just an event, is not who we are. How we perceive it, is all that matters. Rejection can be a redirection. Rejection can be protection. Sometimes it is just wrong timing. Sometimes it’s God’s way of saying there is more than what you want to settle for now. Embrace it. Take it as a necessary developmental tool and a catalyst for greatness. Process the pain it comes with and when your perspectives are on clear again, dust yourself up and try again. One good day, the doors will surely open. A blessing you can’t ever fathom. Keep trying, keep hoping and keep believing. You got this.
Understand that even the greatest artists you know, the people with greater experience do get nervous. No one is immune to fear. And for as long as you are growing, in whatever space that is, you will meet fear. Growth means you will enter new unfamiliar territories and with everything new, we are bound to get nervous. The only difference between those that chase their dreams, even with the presence of fear lingering in close proximity, they don’t let it be the driving force. You can be afraid and still do mighty work. Never forget that. The more you challenge fear and move in its direction as opposed to running from it, the more we understand that we can overcome it. You are braver and more courageous than you know. DO IT AFRAID, IF IT BE SO.