By: Fatoumata Tunkara
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous? As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” –Nelson Mandela
I couldn’t agree more with Nelson, I mean why is that we fear that we aren’t good enough. Why do we fear that we won’t make it? With that being said, it seems like so many of us, myself included seem to live in fear. Whether it be fear of being ourselves, or fear of not being good enough. Fear of taking risks. Or fear of just living our lives the way we want without fearing judgement. Why are we taught to fear? What is this fear? What are we really afraid of? Or is just all in our heads?
I can’t count how many times I didn’t do something because I was of my fear for failing. Those times I chose to remain silent because I feared I would hurt someone’s feelings saying the wrong thing, and while there is nothing wrong with considering other people’s feelings. I’ve learned that if you have something to say, instead of holding it in and being afraid of how the other person is going to react. Speak your piece or you won’t be at peace. I’m going to sidetrack for a bit and tell you guys a little story.
I had just gotten back from Togo ( a small country in West Africa), when I received a notification that someone had withdrawn a large amount of money out my account, so I went to Chase with my dad to get the issue resolved. The guy that was helping us (I’ll just call him Bob) did his job of helping us figure what happened and I was able to get my money back in my account. Yay problem solved!
Since Bob was done helping me, he decided to ask my dad who also is also a member of Chase if he wanted to try online banking. My dad politely declined, stating he would rather get his statements in the mail. Keep in mind my dad is really old fashioned. Bob proceeded to force his opinion on my dad in attempt to change his mind which failed miserably. The whole time my dad and Bob were going back and forth I was observing, but in my head I was fighting the urge to check the guy for how rude he was but I was afraid of how he would react. Why, you may ask. Well, I wasn’t trying to fit the angry black woman stereo-type that has already been placed on us black women whenever we want to be honest or just state our opinion.
Back to the story, my dad decided he wanted to get some money, so he gets up to go get in line leaving me alone with Bob. Taking my chances, I politely asked Bob if I could give him some feedback with the hope that he would say yes. He agreed and so I proceeded to serve him the feedback on a silver platter. I won’t go into everything I said. But to sum it all up, I basically told him to have an open-mind when dealing with elder people especially those who are a bit old-fashioned because although he may have meant well. They might end up taking it the wrong way and responding negatively. He thanked me, and I was happy that I took the chance and spoke my piece and was at peace with myself not having any regrets. Moral of the story, speak your piece or you won’t be at peace.
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”-Eleanor Roosevelt
According to pschologytoday.com “Fear dictates your life”. Do you ever get into a fearful situation where you have that fight or flight moment? You’re stuck between facing your fear head on (fight) and fleeing it altogether (flight). Which brings me to my next story.
I have this huge fear of being in the bathroom with the lights off (thanks to all those Bloody Mary stories). Anyways the maintenance crew was at our place fixing the cabinets and I decided to go take a shower (because I wasn’t trying to be funky). Midway through my shower, the lights magically went off and I’m not even going to sit here and front.
I was scared beyond imagination. But instead of fleeing as you would probably expect. I stayed finished my shower and then left the bathroom. You guys are probably thinking “where is she going with this one?” But you’ll understand in a second.
Apparently the maintenance guys didn’t know I was in the shower and the messed with the circuits and causing the bathroom lights to turn off. But because they did what they did, I was forced to conquer my fear of dark bathrooms.
This goes to just show you a fight or flight situation, I chose to fight despite my fear of dark bathrooms and now I don’t get scared thinking about them anymore. With that being said, we don’t have to be controlled by FEAR. Instead of fear being our worst enemy, FEAR can actually be our best friend that pushes us to our fullest potential.
“What is needed, rather than running away or controlling or suppressing or any other resistance, is understanding fear; that means, watch it, learn about it, and come directly into contact with it. We are to learn about fear, not how to escape from it”. -Jiddu Krishnamurti