Fear, as Crazy Joe Davola memorably told Elaine in Seinfeld, is our most primal emotion. Fear stops us in our tracks. Fear keeps us up at nights.
And a little organic fear can be incredibly productive. Fear can be a beginner of things. Many of us start new workout routines or healthier eating regimens because we’re afraid we’ll end up like an aging relative who’s in poor condition, or that we’ll succumb to this or that disease, or that our kids aren’t getting the example they deserve.
Fear brings us to the doorstep of significant change and often helps us take those first few steps in a new direction. But in our experience, fear loses momentum after a time. However powerful and genuine our initial motivation may be, it can’t help getting entangled with the sheer bulk of fear-based narratives we wade through daily–too weak, too fat, too unwieldy, too poorly-dressed, too this, too that.
That’s the fork in the road. Whatever healthy fear got us moving has lost its initial bite, so we can either give in to that murk around us, stay stuck in our fear and start looking for all the ways we are lesser than, or we can begin to love the things we are learning to do and the mind and body which now are able to do them.
To me, it’s as simple as this. You can’t truly move forward if you’re constantly looking over your shoulder. Your initial change in direction was momentous, it was weighty, and it should be honored and remembered. You were scared, and you turned from your fear and chose to move in the opposite direction. That was a big deal.
But once you get moving, you owe it to yourself to love that forward process. Love what you can do. Love getting better. Love yourself for showing up. This isn’t a copout and it isn’t soft or half-hearted. It is a decision, every day of your life, to choose strength and movement over comparison.
Fear pushes the car out of the ditch.
But love steps on the gas. And then you get to enjoy the ride.