I listen to NPR every chance I get, even if I only have a spare minute or two. You never know what fascinating topics will be discussed. So it was the other day, when I tuned in to hear a man say that he makes a point of asking people, “What would you do if you were not afraid?”
What an intriguing question. I instantly regretted that I wouldn’t be able to continue listening, because I was just about home. Sadly, I don’t know which program it was or who was speaking. (Possibly Speaker’s Forum. I’m not sure.) I only heard him say that several people had replied that they probably wouldn’t be trapped in their miserable jobs if they weren’t so afraid. That made me sad.
The question stuck with me. I’ve been ruminating over it for several days now. It’s made me realize how often people are ruled by fear.
People remain in toxic relationships out of fear. Fear that leaving might result in abuse, or fear of being alone.
Others don’t take risks or challenge themselves in any way, for fear of failure. Because of that, they never realize their full potential.
Women often remain silent for fear of not being taken seriously.
Men often do not show their emotions for fear of being considered weak.
We don’t reach out to others for fear of being rejected.
Many people fear strangers because they’ve been taught to hate, or have never taken the time to get to know someone who is different from themselves.
Most of us fear being pushed out of our comfort zones, and so we are hesitant to test our own boundaries.
Many of us don’t experience life because we’re too busy being afraid of death.
It’s very easy to be ruled by fear, but it means you’ll have to settle for being enslaved by it. And the funny thing is, on those occasions when we manage to push past our fears, we often wind up wondering what we were so afraid of in the first place.
The scariest thing I’ve ever done was to move 3100 miles away from home, to a place I’d never been, where I knew no one. But it also turned out to be the best thing I’ve ever done.
So, dear reader, what would you do if you were not afraid?