Facing My Fears And Beginning A Journey Worth Living
A not so tiny bit of written words about Fears...
Around October of 2015, I have decided to make a plan to change the course of my life. I did not know what I was trying to do. All I knew was that I was not happy. I was sick. And I knew I had to do something. So I did. Step by step, it had been a long journey. I failed a lot. I rearranged course so many times. As I didn't know where I was going, or even I want to go.
In December of 2016, I finally figured out what I want out of life. It took me that long to figure out the "what." Then I asked the "why." Then I made the plan for "how."
I accepted that I am doing what I am doing for selfish reasons. I also learned in 2015 October that what stood between where I want to go and what I want to do is me itself.
What stood in my way was the list of fears I held. Fears that were instilled in me by everything I had learned till then. I also knew that I had to face them if I want to make a change to my life.
First fear I had to tackle was the fear of facing them itself. It took me months of positive self-talk and reading and talking about it to someone to get enough courage to face my fears. I was often frustrated as I took 3 steps back on every 2 steps I took forward at first. But then came the acceptance and 3 steps back on 3 steps forward and then 2 steps back on 3 steps forward. And so on. Today I stand where I am making steady progress. And I am proud of that as I am getting steps done out of my miles to go.
I have come to love this journey. It was hard at first, but now, I find facing my fears as an adventure. And I love puzzles and adventures. And I have come to enjoy every setback as another hurdle to cross.
Second biggest fear came in December of 2016 when I decided to put myself and my writing out to the world.
Fear was this " Will I be misunderstood? Will I be accepted if I speak my mind?"
I had to ask myself this first " How important is authentic living to me? Will I be able to live with this choice in 1 year?"
Once I answered that everything seems simple. I rated everything against those answers. And I started my journey.
I often find myself in crossroads of fear and hope. I often stand there long and so far, I have chosen hope. I chose fear for long decades. But it feels good to choose hope. I have been facing much harder challenges since I chose this path. But I will also say that I have been happier, a better person than before even.
I have accepted that I don't fit into most crowds. I have accepted that I may not be understood often. This was the hardest to accept. As we all want to be seen, heard, valued and accepted for who we are. But, it shouldn't stop you from being who you are if that acceptance comes in small crowds.
My primary care physician ( who is also a pediatrician, go ahead and laugh lol) always said this to me. You just have to find your people. So I took that to heart. I kept telling myself "I just have to find my people." And it helped. It helps. It will help.
I started finding my voice. My people started coming in. And I learned that being me, I still apologize for being me, is bringing in my people (few crazies too, hey I am one and we all have our crazy).
I follow my heart, I get hurt very often. I am misunderstood often as I do things and say things that come straight out of my heart, usually positive things. But I have also learned that the world has been broken. We all have had our fair share of bad happen to us that we don't often recognize the good.
I will give you an example.
Last year I worked for a firm for 3 months. I walked out of there after crying under the desk for a week. I was bullied in the workplace when I asked why I got this answer "The people in your team have not seen someone like you before. They feel no one can do or say things this honest, so you must be having an agenda. They can not understand why you would do things that make no visibility to your career."
It broke my heart. I knew what he was talking about. I did mundane things that I saw broken without being asked to do it. He was right. I would never advance myself in a career. But it would have advanced all of us as a team. It would have pushed the team to a better place. I walked into the VP's office and I told him what is going on. After talking to me he said " I bet you do well on interviews. "
I looked at him for a second and replied " Yes Sir. I do. But I also do very well in what I do."
I walked out of there that day. HR asked me if I was sure that I want to do this. He asked if I have a job lined up and I didn't. And yes, I was sure. I was standing up for what I believed in. And crying under the desk for a week was hard enough.
I was scared. Being a single mom and having no financial backup or income, it was the scariest and hardest thing I had to do that day. But I held hope. I sat down, used my engineering training of a decade and I started evaluating my priorities. I have a long way to go. A long line of battles that I need to fight. But, I have found it easier to fight them than give up and succumb to what is broken in this world now.
I do what I do for a selfish reason. I want to leave the world slightly better than I found it for my kids, my loved ones and myself. Everything I do is for that. And this involves hard and tough choices. Choices most seem to not understand. And explaining them seem to only make it worst. So I no longer explain much. I keep moving one step at a time. And pause when I need to. Get up if I fall.
Why am I saying this to you now?
Because I want you to see that this world can change if all of us change ourselves.
I am a giant nerd. I get theories in my head first. Then I do small actions or experiments to see if my theory makes sense. And sometimes they do.
And the theory that small individual changes will collectively change the world is proven correct by many before. I don't even have to test it.
I am proud of who I am, with all my shortcomings and flaws. I accept that I know nothing. But I also know that a drop of kindness and compassion is what I can give to this world and it will make a difference in some way. No act of kindness is too small. I accept that I will hurt some people. I stay alerted often to not hurt others intentionally. I am embracing my fears of rejection.
I want to live a life that means something to me. I want a life of truth and authenticity. And yes I want to fix the world. Since I am not God, I will have to fix myself so that I can contribute towards fixing this world. And yes, I want you to join me. But on your terms. I would like others to look inside themselves and find their passion and pursue it. I have a theory that being our authentic selves can improve this world.
If you are a visual person. I am part of a group of strong and beautiful women based out of Kochin, India. We do group activities on FB, simple mundane things. But, one person deliberately posting something always draws others out. Think of one as one pearl in a jar. Then if 25 joins in, it's 25 in that jar. It makes a difference. I often hope that even in silence, we are impacting someone's life in a positive way.
What am I trying to say?
I am trying to say that instead of saying this world is broken, let's fix it. Let's fix each of us and then collectively fix this world.
There will always be failures as it is the greatest teacher. But let's rise up and do what makes us happy so that we can make the world happier. Life is beautiful even with its hardships.
I understand my limitations and I am not preaching. But I also had come to accept that speaking up is my way. It is my way of trying to bring a change. And I have gotten into trouble for speaking up my entire life.
Even yesterday I thought to myself "why do I go find unnecessary trouble? Why not stay quiet?
But it is not unnecessary. It is a necessary trouble and I am tired of waiting for someone else to speak up first. Yes, I will get into a lot of trouble for speaking up. But I would rather do it than y children had to face it.
My journey started with facing my fears. I hope you find your journey if you have not already!
ps: I have to face my fears where I feel I need to apologize for speaking my heart. I am trying.