The subject of fear has been on my mind quite a bit recently. And I will be completely honest and tell you exactly why: I’m a pretty frightened person.
This is not something that I’ve known about myself for very long. Mostly because I try very hard to be brave. But lately I’ve begun to realize that there are so many things in this world that I’m afraid of. Fear seems to drive just about everything that I do. It is very tempting for me to succumb to fear, and very often I do.
Interestingly enough, I think that the thing I fear the very most, above anything else in the world, is being happy.
Can you even believe that?
I have met so many people who fear being happy, and it is always for different reasons. I have some relatives who are so comfortable with their misery (health problems, financial problems, etc) that being happy would almost be worse. Because trust me, folks, being “comfortable” and being “happy” are two very, very different things. After a while you become comfortable with just about anything, but being happy is something else.
But like the human that I am, I never stopped to look inside myself and wonder if I was doing the exact same thing.
This isn’t to say that I’m not a happy person. I have so many blessings: wonderful family, great friends, a job, ambitions. Overall my existence is a very happy one. But I think that every one of us, no matter the stability or goodness that surrounds us, all have at least one dream we are reaching for.
But being happy is, oddly enough, a scary thing. All sorts of questions come up for me when I think of what it would be like to be truly happy. Questions like: do I dare? What would happen? Where would I be? What would that mean for me or my family?
Most of these questions stem from the fact that I, like many others, have a really hard time trusting others. To be truthful, I’m not exactly sure where this trust thing started with me. I grew up in a large family with lots of older siblings who made really dumb choices, and as a result I learned to just rely on myself. It is infuriating, even to me, how hard it is for me to trust others. I am your classic “I’m afraid of getting hurt” human. Talk about cliche. Gag. (I usually avoid being cliche anything. I hate being like everybody else. Don’t even get me started.)
So if I were to be truly happy, if I were to live these dreams I have stored away in my heart, I feel like I’d always be waiting for something bad to happen. I’d always be looking for the catch. I’d be tempted to wait for the dark places, and then be all “I told you so” when I ended up crying in my room over something I felt like I ruined.
When it comes to fear, I honestly believe that we are our own worst enemies. And for that matter, this also applies to happiness. It can get so frustrating and I just want to shake myself and yell:
What are you so afraid of?
But I think the curse of the human soul is that we are so infinitely more than a body that we occupy. And whether we realize it or not, we’re pretty deep. So the whole “I’m afraid of getting hurt” thing is quite valid. There’s a lot of unknowns in the soul that we’re trying to work with, and getting hurt is definitely an over complication.
I often have these exhilarating moments where I throw all my fears out the window and decide to just go at this life thing. Unfortunately, they never last long. I’m too much of an expert at getting inside my own head.
I wish I could end this post by saying that I’m not going to be afraid anymore. That I’m not going to fear happiness, that I’m going to stop retreating into myself at the slightest sign of danger. But if I say that then I probably will not do it on purpose because this is the type of personal contradiction that I have to navigate daily.
So I’ll just end it by putting the question to you:
What are you so afraid of?