"I fear / I have nothing to give / I have so much to lose / Here in this lonely place / Tangled up in our embrace / There's nothing I'd like better than to fall / But I fear / I have nothing to give." ~ Sarah McLachlan "Fear"

I've been thinking much on the concept of fear. I fear people, I fear my family, I fear my friends, I fear change, I fear airplanes, I fear those who teased me in grade school, I fear my hairdresser, I fear my boss, I fear saying no. My life is overrun with fear.

I'm trying to approach life a little differently. I've lately been asking myself "Why am I so afraid? Really, what's the worst that can happen?" And realistically, I analyze the potential worst-case scenarios. It usually follows with: "Will I get yelled at ?" (Answer: Probably not.) "Will this person be mad?" (Answer: Maybe but unlikely.) "Will I get shot?" (Answer: Highly unlikely.) "Will I disappoint?" (Answer: It's possible, but people will deal.) "Will I upset?" (Answer: That's possible too but it's not the end of the world.)

Talking through worst-case scenarios has helped me come out of my shell a bit more. I have a long way to go but I've been more assertive with what I need over the phone (I'm not afraid to sound nasty anymore – what do I care what people I never will meet think of me?) and I'm no longer as apprehensive to change an appointment or cause disappointment. Disappointment is a part of life – something that can't always be avoided so I do what I need to do and try not to think about it.

I had to let down one of the ladies that's trying to sell me Mary Kay. I agreed to a facial on Tuesday but realized I don't have the money and I don't really want a facial. She's a pretty good salesperson so I got talked into rescheduling and really – I really wanted the "try it before you buy it" facial at the time – but now that I'm at home thinking about it, I'm wondering again if I really need it and am wasting my time. And I'd feel terrible for her to drive a half-hour all the way out here to my home and me not buy anything. And I don't know what I'd do if I felt pressure to buy. I usually end up doing something because I'm afraid to say "no." Again – fear. I need to see if my new approach will work. Unless Mary Kay's products are so likable – as she says they speak for themselves – that I actually want to buy it. The challenge will be if I don't. Then I'm faced with saying no and feeling bad that this poor woman drove 35 minutes out of her and wasted gas for no sale.

I need to remind myself that people will feel bad and even though I may cause it – the way other people feel is NOT my responsibility.

Applying the fear factor with loved ones tends to be a little trickier. As such, because they're loved ones, we care more about what they think. I don't want to upset my mother in law sometimes so I agree to something that I'm not necessarily fond of, I don't want to upset my mother when she I disagree so I agree to whatever it is to avoid a fight (which usually ends up with me unhappy in some way), or I don't want to upset my husband so I either don't express my true feelings or I agree even though I feel differently. Some of it is superficial, but for the most part, it's harder because since these are the people I love – and will see again – what they think about me holds more weight in my mind.

[NOTE: Do not mistake my saying that "I am not responsible for the way he feels" as "I am not responsible for my actions toward him." I am completely responsible for any inappropriate or hurtful actions toward him. But in a situation where two people who are talking and a person takes the truth of a matter very hard, the person speaking the truth cannot be responsible for the way the other person feels. Especially if it was not said in a hurtful or injurious manner.]

"There is no fear in love: but perfect love casteth out fear,
because fear hath punishment; and he that feareth is
not made perfect in love." ~ I John 4:18 (The Bible)

If the above is true then the opposite of fear is love. O, that I may be filled with more love for those around me and my fellow man so that I may do what is right, pure and honest – both for them and for me.

Letting go of fear releases the demons of depression and opens up paths to true joy and happiness.

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