Have you ever felt comfortable being afraid of something?
I know, it's a weird question, but I'm dead serious about it. It seems as though even if people never get over their fears they are still content with—or even enjoy—putting themselves in situations they know are going to be unpleasant.
But what exactly is the thrill of something so predictable?
Maybe it's the same as when you feel love for a family member, or nostalgic for a bittersweet memory. These emotions aren't new to us, but we still allow ourselves to feel them. Much like my previous discussion on sadness, these feelings keep us in tune with the things we cherish and the values we care about.
While on the surface fear implies the opposite of those ideas, when we explore it a little deeper we realise it can actually be deeply rooted in other strong emotions. We fear seeing our loved ones in danger. We fear what's becoming of our planet environmentally, politically, and economically. Such thoughts reinforce what matters to us the most and entice us to decide what to do about each scenario. Just like how there's happiness in sadness, there's bravery in fear. It becomes a test of character in a way.
Even if you show cowardice, there can still be a sort of courage there. You're still willing to endure something despite your reluctance, or perhaps you just want to step up from your comfort level for once and fulfill that ultimate "what if" moment for yourselves.
You might realise deep down things can go awry, but you nevertheless want a change of pace, whether its a personal accomplishment or an activity that'll at least make you feel a little less bored with your day. Who knows, maybe you'll learn more about yourselves and what you're missing from your lives.
If you're not afraid of something, chances are there's nothing (left) to gain from the experience. That might explain why we're always encouraged to try one thing a day that terrifies us. We get so used to living routinely lifestyles that even the smallest of feats mean everything to us in the moment.
I think that's where the value of the experiences, and thus the value of the lessons come in. If we don't challenge ourselves every now and again, we probably won't grow or change as much as we could for our own betterment—and possibly someone else's as well.
It's okay to feel afraid. In fact, the feeling may never go away. But again, if you can live with your sadness and still go out there to do what you have to do, you can most certainly live with your fear in addition to that. It's about how you respond to it. You can either choose to let it cause you daily stress, or you can choose to own up to it and form a dynamic with it.
You can't always control your feelings, but you definitely can't let your feelings completely control you either. Like any relationship, it's a street that can't only have one way. Sacrifices and compromises are inevitable, yes, but together you and your emotions shape who you become in the end.
So don't worry about feeling inadequate or even "uncool" in front of your friends because of your fears. It's your personal journey that you embrace, and your confidence will shine through in spite of what you believe. If anything, you'll surely have interesting and entertaining stories to tell your possible grandkids which will actually make you that much cooler in their eyes.
Now isn't that a comforting thought?