A photo of me from three years ago in front of the Golden Gate Bridge, the first month I lived in San Francisco
"Fear can only exist in the absence of our own action."
Imagine something you've always wanted to do, but were afraid to...
Fear is a powerful emotion. It prevents us from doing so many new things.
However, if we are willing to take a risk just once, and face our fear, the next time around is so much easier. Facing our fear just once makes us more fearless...
Fear is just unfamiliarity. It arises when we haven't done something before and can't possibly imagine ourselves doing it. But, fear can only exist when we are not taking action towards it. It's our choice whether we will continue to live in a life surrounded by fear.
Last week I was faced with one of my familiar fears - driving a long distance on a highway, by myself. My friend was having a baby shower in the city, on the other side of the golden gate bridge, and no one else could drive me. I had never done this before and just thinking about it made me afraid.
Growing up, my mother discouraged me from driving on highways. I thought she was just looking out for me, but I realized, it was a phobia she had and never wanted to face herself. Over the years, her fear instilled itself in me, I developed the same phobia, and avoided highways at all costs.
Recently, I realized this fear was only holding me back. I moved from the urban centers of Berkeley and San Francisco to Petaluma, where I needed to rely on highways almost everyday. It was a fear I could no longer avoid.
I've taken small steps to face the fear in the last few months, and started driving down to Mill Valley by myself once a month to visit a friend. I came clean with my fear to my partner - and he showed up with a lot of compassion. Sharing the fear, and facing it one little step at a time was, I realized, the only way through it.
But when it came to driving to San Francisco - the fear arose again within me. Driving over such a big bridge and navigating the city for the first time seemed daunting. But, I didn't want to let my fear hold me back from seeing my friend.
I decided to do it anyway.
The ride down was scary for sure - I felt my adrenaline, and I even called my partner to navigate me through the streets of San Francisco when I was feeling insecure.
But I did navigate the streets, I did find a parking spot, and I did make it to the party. I noticed walking back to my car what an air of FEARLESSNESS was within me. I faced the fear, and felt invincible because of it.
Just facing the fear once, made driving home so much easier. I felt confident and at ease.
As I approached the golden gate bridge, the sun was setting, my tunes were playing, and I felt so accomplished.
I think life is all about facing fears. It makes us feel alive. Our adrenaline starts going, our mind becomes focused, and we are totally present.
Crossing over the golden gate last week helped me see how capable I really am. I can rely on myself. I passed through those golden gates of fearlessness.