Is it okay to let fear fuel you?

Every MONDAY (or Tuesday, if you are always behind like me, but, whatever) join us. Write, post, link-up, share your story and your voice. Be part of carrying the weight of confidence, empowerment and share our mission to empower, inspire, and remind women, parents and children that the time has come to celebrate ourselves! This week we were asked to post a Just.Be.Enough moment based on this question: What Fuels You?

I wanted to be profound, write an amazing anecdote about courage and strength, maybe even suggest that I am driven by some sort of spiritual connection, by community or my family and friends or a passion for the arts. But the truth is, there is only one thing that has been consistent in my life, and really motivates me.

The one thing that really fuels me is fear.

Growing up, my grades in school were a combination of natural ability and fear of being grounded. I didn’t want to miss going out with my friends or dating. The idea of caring about my future truly was not  a thought, other than the fact that I knew I didn’t want to live at home with my parents for the rest of my life. I was afraid of being looked at as a “loser” so I went to college, because that is what you do. Dressing nice and keeping up with current fashion trends was out of fear of being “uncool”. I was afraid of not being liked. I was afraid of not being pretty enough or smart enough. I was afraid of not being funny enough. I was even afraid of not being creative enough. A lot of what I did, said, and even wore in my youth was motivated purely by fear of what other people thought of me.

As a young adult, I’d like to say that suddenly changed. But it didn’t. I got married too young, the first time, out of fear of being alone. I dropped out of school out of fear of not being able to finish. (Kind of backwards thinking, I know, but if I dropped out, then no one could say I failed.) I had my first baby out of fear of letting my husband down and maybe even a little fear of letting my family down by not giving them a grandchild, niece or nephew. I stayed in my first marriage way too long out of fear of being a failure, and again, fear of being alone. I went back to college out of fear of not being able to put food on the table as a single mom and I picked a job that was “easy” or “safe” because I was afraid I wouldn’t be good at what I really wanted to be, a teacher.

In this season of my life I am still fueled by fear.  Fear pushes and pulls me to make decisions or not make decisions. Sometimes, it still creeps around in ways that keep me from experiencing life to the fullest, or doing things I don’t really want to do, but mostly, I am fueled by the fear of what kind of example I am to my children. I want them to work hard, be kind to others, serve their communities, take responsibility for themselves, have pride in their appearance, and make healthy choices both physically and mentally. My drive to keep a clean house, be organized, volunteer, eat healthy, exercise, play my instrument and even write is hugely based on this fear. A fear of not being enough of someone to look up to and emulate. I fear being “just a stay at home mom”.

My life has had many blessings even though I will never be the perfect wife, mother or friend. Sometimes, I fear that if I sit too long, and stop engaging with the world, that I will become complacent.  It is good to be reminded that others do not have the same comforts. Perhaps, it is okay to be fueled by fear as long as you let it empower you to work hard, and drive you towards something productive.

9 thoughts on “Is it okay to let fear fuel you?

  1. This is ALL so true of everybody in life, I believe – well, it’s most certainly true for me…fear has been a big part of my life and been among the things that’ve pushed me to do well…or relatively well as I FEAR total and complete success *sighs* #sad …such a paradox

  2. I get this because I often let fear get the upper hand. But I’ve read that it really helps to just reframe how you are thinking of it.
    For instance, instead of fearing you will not _____ (be a good role model, etc.) you can choose to be __________ (a good role model, etc.). What you focus on becomes bigger.
    Easier said than done, for sure. But really worth a try.
    ♥b

  3. I 100% get you. I get this. My fear for my kids, well, that’s what triggered a recent ‘break up’ with a toxic friend (and her child). What am I teaching them if I allow this other child to disrespect me and my family in our home? That it’s ok. It’s not OK, and I told them – that’s why we wouldn’t be seeing them anymore.

  4. Your words are my thoughts…My biggest fear is that I will disappoint the people I think the most of…

    The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one. ~ Elbert Hubbard

  5. First I can totally relate with your sidebar…”if you are always behind like me..” {raising hand…me too}. Then there is this: “I wanted to be profound, write an amazing anecdote about courage and strength, maybe even suggest that I am driven by some sort of spiritual connection…” Let me clarify something… the truth is this is pretty profound. It is a story of courage and strength. Life is a work in progress. We are always working to better ourselves. I found your story very moving. So brave and so strong…you did it. You made it. And now you’ve taken something that could continue to take you on a path you were not happy with and made it charge you to empowerment! -Laverne visiting from Just.Be.Enough Thank you for linking up

  6. Nodding my head. I spent who knows how many extra months not wanting to divorce my ex-husband for fear of what my then three year old daughter would think she grew up. I do think you are right though, healthy fear can be productive. Thanks so much for linking up with JBE!

  7. “Perhaps, it is okay to be fueled by fear as long as you let it empower you to work hard, and drive you towards something productive.”

    Really inspirational, well done for turning your ‘fear’ into something positive and productive. I have a long way to go! 🙂

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