Written by Michael J Theron
If these past few months have taught me anything it is that fear has been my greatest companion for most of my life. Fear is devious, subtle and powerful, ever present and hiding just below the surface. Whenever I wanted to do something the silky smooth voice of fear would whisper gently in my ear “what will people say, what will people think ?” and I would then back down and settle into the comfort of mediocrity and a false sense of security.
This was all good and well, but the long-term effects of this submission have left me with a distinct feeling of discomfort and dissatisfaction. A subconscious gnawing that I was denying myself the opportunity to grow and expand as a person. A denial of my authentic self and the realisation that one of my worst fears would come true – regret. That one day it would be too late and I would regret never finding the courage to punch fear in the face and to live an unapologetic life.
I am not ashamed to admit that when we went into lockdown, I shut down. My days consisted of binge watching series, sleeping and eating. I developed an aversion to anything positive, and the word change made me want to vomit. My daily routine went out the window and I cut myself off from the world. Like so many others, there was this constant rollercoaster ride of emotions ranging from anxiety to numbness. And as the days went by my fears grew stronger and my dreams, hopes and aspirations became a distant memory.
Then one morning, quite recently, while having my morning coffee I sat upright and proclaimed loudly to the rising sun, “I am done, I am going to reinvent myself and start doing all of those things I have always wanted to do”. And so here we are!
If I may offer some suggestions, for the following has really helped me to pull myself out of that place and on a path of fearless self discovery. I call it my non-negotiables and regardless of how I am feeling I make sure that I do each of these things every day.
1: Meditate – whether it is for five minutes or twenty minutes, each day I take time to sit and quiet my mind. This helps me to focus and be present in order to connect with myself and the day.
2: Journal – I write one page, first thing in the morning, about everything I love about life, my dreams, what I am grateful for and some positive affirmations.
3: Exercise – I use this time to clear my head, plan my day and wake up my mind and body.
4: Motivational talk – each morning I listen to a short motivational talk to inspire me and get me going.
This may not work for everyone, but it is a damn site better than allowing my fear to take me hostage and prevent me from living my best life possible. Without these non-negotiables I am a slave to my emotions and sacrifice my ability to be the best version of myself for that day.