Face Your Fears
I began seeing my therapist shortly after my separation to help me process my emotions associated with being assaulted by husband. I felt ashamed, bewildered, guilty, and confused. I questioned whether I should stay with my husband or whether I should leave. I stood on the edge of a dark, wide chasm wondering if I should jump, and I was terribly frightened of what lay on the other side. My fear surprised me. I considered myself fairly independent. I had lived alone for six years before getting married. I had bought and sold two houses by the time I was 28. I mowed my own lawn, shuffled snow, and often traveled alone on business. But to untether myself from my marriage and drift alone as a single mom was scary.
The following week I reviewed my fears with her. Both lists seemed equally daunting. “Being alone” seemed as scary as “being miserable." Here is the list for staying with my husband straight from my journal:
Now here is the list of fears for leaving my husband:
One thing about time. Time gives us the gift of perspective, insight, and experience. Reading these two lists eighteen months into my journey is enlightening and somewhat amusing. My journey has given me the perspective to observe these two lists objectively. Let’s take a closer look at both lists of fears and determine what is real and what may not be so real.
Now let’s look at the fears I listed for leaving my husband:
The fear of leaving my husband was the result of not knowing the future. How was I going to make it? Where do I begin? Do I get a lawyer? Where will I live? How will it affect my son? I was overwhelmed with all the questions running around in my head. But as I took each step forward, my questions were answered dispelling each of my fears. The key is to take that first step forward.
The fears we face in life are often the fear of the unknown. Fear of the future. Fear of change. Fear of making a long, difficult journey. Fear of failure. Fear of pain. We fear making that phone call, because we fear rejection. We fear going back to college, because we are scared of failing. We fear applying for our dream job, because we fear being let-down. We fear leaving an unhealthy relationship, because we fear change and starting over. We will encounter many fears and obstacles along our journey.
Our fears will seem intimidating and insurmountable at first. However, when we arm ourselves with knowledge and take one step at a time, these fears will fade away. Similar to the monsters we thought were under our bed, our grown-up fears turn out to be illusions as well. Just remember it’s normal to feel fear when we are pushing the envelope, making a significant life change, and chartering new territory. That fear is your heart’s intuition whispering in your ear, “It’s going to be worth it.”