The dictionary defines fear as “an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.” It is simply the feeling of being afraid. But what the dictionary fails to capture is how vastly different various types of fear are. There are rational fears, practical fears, and fears entirely in your mind. There’s a good kind of fear--the kind that keeps you safe while hiking near a cliff, or protects you when you’re walking alone at night. And there’s the unnecessary kind of fear--the kind that keeps you up at night after watching a scary movie or thinking about sharks while in the swimming pool. But what is fear, really? And what effect does it have on our lives?
Very few of us actually want to experience fear in our lives. It can be a crippling feeling that smothers us and keeps us from doing things. How many people avoid rock climbing for fear of heights, or avoid hikes or swims in a river for fear of snakes? Have you ever thought about the extent to which fear has held you back in life?
In order to live a life that’s not governed by fear, you’ll need to do a couple of things. First, think about all the things you’re afraid of. From big things like your future to small things like bugs. Then, think about which of those fears affect your life. If your list of fears is primarily made up of things that aren’t practical, it might be time to do something about it.
Getting over your fear isn’t simple. The things we’re afraid of can have a tight grip on our lives. But realizing what things hold us back and what things aren’t practical can make a huge difference. Recognizing the need for change is the first step toward being able to have a life that isn’t run by anxiety. Fears can even become a list of goals. Are you afraid of change? Make it a point to try something new. Are you afraid of travel? Make it a goal to head to a new spot this year. Tackling your fear head on can be an effective way of overcoming it. That can be the small step that launches your life into something truly exciting.
Perhaps the most iconic dream of all time was the one spoken about by Martin Luther King, Jr in his famous “I have a dream” speech. His dream was of equality and civil rights for all. When he spoke about his dream he inspired courage and determination in people for generations to come. His dream was for a better world and has gone down in history as one of the most famous speeches of all time. What could be more inspiring than that? Chasing after his dream made a dramatic difference not only in his life but in the lives of so many other people as well. He used his passion to inspire millions...can you imagine what the world would be like if he had chosen instead to ignore it? For him, chasing his dream was a matter of great importance.
But what about your dream? Does it matter, too? It would be easy to compare your dream to Martin Luther King, Jr’s and think that it’s not worthy of pursuing. Or to think that it’s just too difficult to attain. How could you do something so brave and challenging; would you even have the strength to do it? Or what if your dream seems small and insignificant in comparison? But the thing about dreams is, they exist for a reason. That passion and purpose found their way into your heart and there is nothing more important than following it, regardless of what that dream is.
Whether your dream is to build a better future for your children, or to simply make your home more organized and less stressful, your dream is valid and significant. Don’t be so intimidated by the thought of pursuing it that you don’t even bother to try. It’s easy for us to think that the things we care about and long for aren’t important or worth trying to achieve. After all, there’s no chance you’ll fail if you don’t bother to try. But what is most important is that you recognize the importance of the things you want in life and you try to chase after them. No matter what you think or what other people may try to tell you, all dreams matter. Even yours.
Some people call it destiny; some people call it a calling, or a purpose. But whatever it is, following your passion is about more than just clichéd definitions. Sayings like “follow your heart,” “find your bliss,” or “don’t give up on your dreams” have been repeated so often that they sound ordinary to us now. But before they were clichés, they were rooted in truth. And they became so popular for a reason.
Anyone who’s woken up day after day to drag themselves into a job they hate or a life they find unfulfilling will tell you there is something missing in their lives. The boring activities of an uninspired life will wear you down eventually. Human beings are adventurous, creative, and passionate creatures, and our lives were meant to be lived that way. The mediocrity of an unfulfilling life is enough to make people wonder what the point is to what they’re doing. Why are you living a life you don’t enjoy?
If you’ve ever had a nagging thought in the back of your mind that you were meant for more than this, or you’ve had a dream you’ve been ignoring…the time has come to act on it. You were given that dream for a reason. Whether it’s having a family, or starting a bakery, or writing the next hit song—your dream comes from a place of inspiration deep within your soul, and it shouldn’t be ignored!
When you live a life that doesn’t ignite your soul with passion, every day becomes monotonous. Your life becomes little more than a string of mediocre days all tied together. But when you seek after the things you love, the things you hope for and dream of, life becomes an exciting adventure. And that’s what human beings were made for!
Even if you’re pretty content with how things are, chasing after your dream can mean the difference between a pretty decent life and an incredibly fulfilling life. Who wouldn’t want that? Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams...you were given them for a reason!