5 December 2017

A lesson in fear


Fear is a funny thing. It's what stops you from making stupid decisions, like getting into a dodgy cab or jumping off moving trains. I guess in some ways it goes hand in hand with common sense, or is common sense derived from fear? I mean, if you had no fear of getting hit by a car, would common sense still make you cross at a zebra crossing? Surely common sense is built from experiences and the emotional responses they evoke. For example, some might argue that knowing not to plunge head first into boiling hot water is common sense, but is this only because of previous experience suggesting that the outcome would be getting burnt? So in this case, common sense would actually fuelled by the fear of pain (from burning). Honestly it's all a little confusing, too many questions and not enough time. All I know is that fear plays a massive role in our psyche, whether you choose to notice it or not, it is usually one of the driving forces behind your actions. 

Recently I've begun to notice and think about this more than ever. As I was doing my university applications a few weeks ago, it really started to weigh on me how much fear influences my own decisions. Did the fear of potential rejection stop me from applying to the universities I really wanted to go to? or the fear of judgement and disappointing others stop me from choosing my dream subject? I remember a year ago I chose to apply for law, despite the fact that I had once told my mum that I would never in a million years want to do anything in law. Now looking back I know that my decision was based solely off the fear of disappointing my family. I'm lucky enough to have realised this and have the chance to reapply, but it's interesting to look back and see the power of fear. 

Surprisingly however, it's not the negative side of fear that I wanted to write about, but more it's beneficial side. I can happily say that fear has given me some of my best moments, without it I would probably be living as a hermit somewhere, never going out and never trying new things. As I mentioned in my 'Volunteering in Bali' post, travelling alone was a massive fear for me. In fact not only was travelling alone scary, but so was the entire Gap year experience. Was I going to meet new friends? Would I get a job? How could I survive half way across the world with no one I knew? It was a genuine fear, and at the time it really made me feel unhappy. In the end after a lot of support and help I managed to not only get over my fear but feel excited about the experience. I actually started to enjoy the fear of the unknown. It was almost as if the feeling of beating the initial fear, pushed me into wanting to overcome all my fears. 

One moment that particularly stands out to me was the absolute terror I felt just before doing the AJ Hackett Nevis Swing. While I enjoy leisurely hikes and the occasional friendly tennis match, I would never actively call myself sporty. Much to my dismay, I'm unfortunately not one of those *Godlike* people who can roll out of bed at 5 in the morning to go for a run, or swim a hundred lengths before starting their day. Which is why when I decided to attempt the AJ Hackett Nevis swing I was absolutely terrified. But being the stubborn I can do that too type I had promised my brother, who had just done one of the biggest bunjy jumps in NZ, that I would do something equally as stupid on my gap year. So, 2 years later I found myself suited up and ready to freefall 70 metres on the AJ Hackett Nevis Swing (The world's largest canyon swing). The fear, along with the fact that I'm incredibly stubborn, pushed me to do it. I can honestly say that it was one of the best moments of my gap year. 

What I really want to highlight is how sometimes the things that bring us the most fear, can also be the most rewarding. Whether that's the fear of public speaking, the fear of starting something new or, like me, the fear of travelling alone. I think what's important is to not let fear hold you back (unless of course it's the common sense fear, then you know...). Fear has, so far, given me so many good memories and I hope it will continue to do so. 

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What are your experiences with fear? I'd love to hear your thoughts and stories!

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35 comments so far

  1. What an amazingly, well-written blog post. I'm so happy for you that you realized that the only reason you wanted to go into law was so you wouldn't dissapoint your family. I feel as though it's important for us to take into consideration our families' perspectives, but ultimately the final decision should be our own because we will be the ones living with our decisions.
    To add onto that, I really like how you talked about the positive side of fear. It truly is an important thing to think about because what doesn't kill us, only makes us stronger, right?! I've learned so much this past year with regards to getting out of my comfort zone and trying new things, despite feeling so fearful that I felt physically sick. I can happily say that I have achieved the most through doing this.

    Once again, fabulous post and I cannot wait to read more of your posts.

    El @ Exclusory

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    1. Ahh I'm so glad you enjoyed reading it, and i totally agree with everything you said. Although obviously family perspectives are important the decision must make you happy too. I'm so happy and proud that you've managed to beat fear this year too!

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  2. This is SO well written and one of those posts that really make you think - I wish more people wrote posts like these. It was a great read! If this is your writing style then I can't wait to read more from you.

    Holly x
    adailydoseofholly.com

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    1. I'm so glad you liked it! I love writing things like this, and also taking suggestions, so If there's anything you'd like to read in the future just let me know!

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  3. Wonderful post, I totally agree that sometimes the things we most fear are things that turn out to be amazing!

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed reading it!

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  4. Wonderful post! My goal for 2018 is to do more things that scare me, so this was brilliant for me to read

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    1. Yesss do it! I promise you'll feel amazing afterwards

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  6. Loved this! The fears we don't face become our limitations.

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    1. So glad you liked it, thanks for reading!

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  7. What a thought provoking post. We really do let fear take over us sometimes don't we. You're right fear does affect my decisions and the things I do, fear of the unknown is the worst fear of all xx

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    1. I'm glad you liked it, thanks for reading! Xx

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  8. I had a serious fear of starting my blog. I was afraid that I would get negative comments and find out that I’m a terrible writer! And doing it anyway has brought me so much joy and fulfillment! My next biggest fear isn’t finishing a book and attempting to publish it. I’m so afraid that I’ll fail, but after reading this... I’m going to push and do it anyway. Great post!

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    1. I'm so happy to hear that! A book sounds amazing, if your passionate about it don't let fear stop you! Good luck with everything, and I'll be looking out for your book ;)

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  9. Loved this post! I think the main take away is to acknowledge your fear and not to let it hold you back. Though I'm not sure I would've done that canyon dive! Hard core!

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    1. Aw i'm so glad! I Never thought I would too, it was amazing though!

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  10. Finally got to finish reading this post! I'm so glad I did...This was so beautifully written and I agree with you, fear isn't always a bad thing. It kind of helps heighten our senses and can make things more thrilling in a great way. Great post Meera :)

    xx Lena: https://lenadeexo.com/

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    1. I'm so glad you liked it Lena! Thanks for reading xx

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  11. This is such a wonderful post! I can understand where you come from, there's this one video on youtube about fear that Will Smith spoke about that resonated with me. He mentioned how he was terrified of going skydiving and when he finally did he wondered, what was all that for? And he links it all unto everything in life! Fear is definitely powerful! xx

    amerzwithlove.com

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    1. That sounds like an interesting video I'll have to check it out! I totally understand what he means though. I'm glad you enjoyed reading it xx

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  12. I absolutely loved reading this post! I completely agree that some amazing things can happen due to fear or being outside of your comfort zone. Lovely post.

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    1. I'm happy that you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading.

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  13. This is such a beautifully written post! I really enjoyed reading it, and I totally agree that the things that may cause fear can actually be rewarding! Thanks for sharing!

    http://roadesque.com
    http://ourruins.com

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    1. Aw im so glad you liked it! Thanks for reading!

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  14. This post is so inspiring! Well done you for overcoming so many of your fears xx
    http://www.dellalovesnutella.co.uk/2017/12/christmas-at-leeds-castle-and-winter.html

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    1. Aw thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed reading it xx

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  15. I have a lot of trouble getting past fear to do some things...thanks for the inspiration to get out of that comfort zone and make some memories! :)

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    1. You're welcome! Thanks for reading :)

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  16. Oh my gosh, I almost cried reading this! Everything you've delved into here holds so much truth, but is rarely thought about in depth!
    I've had many moments where I have been so terrified before public speaking, or hosting events, that I have literally doubted everything about myself, why I was even there, and whether I was even capable of anything anymore! It's SUCH a force!!

    HAD I NOT have conquered it, and not taken that step forward at fearful times, I KNOW I wouldn't have the experiences and confidence that I now have today! It's so strange, isn't it!? Some fear is deliberate to protect us, and some simply gets in our way! Is it friend, or foe?!

    Such a thoughtful post.
    Sally.

    www.sallymorganmoore.com

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    1. aw i'm so glad you enjoyed reading it! Well done for conquering those fears and I totally agree with everything you mention! Fear is a funny thing, it helps but it also hinders. Loved reading this comment and all your thoughts on the subject!

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  17. I love this, I very much think that without taking a plunge you'd never really get anywhere in life and if you stay within your comfort zone you're not reaching your potential!

    Beth x
    www.isthisseattaken.net

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    1. I'm glad you like it! And a totally agree! X

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  18. Great post! And super relatable. I, too, applied to study law and later realised that I did it for my parents rather than for myself. I continued with it though and recently graduated. Now it is time to move into something I truly enjoy although it's the "risky option".

    We all have to step out of our comfort zones at times. Kudos to you for travelling by yourself!

    - Paulina xx
    my-primavera.blogspot.com

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    1. Congrats for continuing with it despite not really doing it for yourself! Tbh that takes courage in itself. Good luck on now finding what you really enjoy though! Xx

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