On Feeling Afraid and Not Doing It

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I recently read a post on Yes and Yes entitled On Feeling Afraid And Doing It Anyway. The title is a pretty accurate summary of the blog post, but another quote jumped out at me “I do not let the fears determine my behavior.”

I get that. I really do. There are times when I’ve been afraid or nervous or fearful of something, but I did it anyway. It was empowering, uplifting, and reassuring. I’ve confronted people I needed to stand up to; I started a business; and I joined a kickball team. Respectively, that got me the opportunity to build stronger relationships and to end unhealthy ones; a chance to build a community hub in Raleigh; and several new friends and an athletic outlet. The payoffs of my actions have far outweighed the fear or nervousness I harbored.

But there are other times when I wonder if it’s okay to be afraid and not do it. The idea of skydiving makes me nauseous; the idea of holding a snake scares the living daylights out of me; and I really have no desire to ride an upside-down roller coaster.

Am I hiding behind fear? You could argue that. But I think I’ve just weighed the benefits against the stress and anxiety and decided it’s not worth it.* The feeling of skydiving might be unparalleled; holding a snake may make me fine seeing them on hikes; and riding a roller coaster might be liberating. But I’m willing to take the risk of not finding out because it just doesn’t feel worth it.

So before you feel peer pressured into doing something you’re scared of, ask yourself: What’s the payoff? Do the benefits outweigh the negatives? Does this action have long-term benefits in your life or is it a one-time experience?

And learn to say “No thanks, I’m good.”

What do you think? Do you think it’s okay to be scared and chose to not act? Any examples? 

*Don’t hold me to this. I may do any of the above one day 🙂

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2 thoughts on “On Feeling Afraid and Not Doing It

  1. One of the things I struggle with is similar, the idea of whether it is ok to sometimes give up on something. And I think the struggle is similar. We all want to be the best we can be and push ourselves, but sometimes is that really necessary? Sometimes is it ok to say “I just don’t want that”? I think it is. Since life is about choices, sometimes it’s ok to say “No thanks, my choice is to stop or not do that.” Fear has kept me from doing some stupid things I would have regretted as well, so sometimes it can be good. I just try to not let it stop me from enjoying life.

    • I completely agree with you. There have been times that I quit something and felt guilty- not because I wished I hadn’t quit, but because there’s a pressure to push through challenges no matter what. I respect people who choose to quit instead of being unhappy! Love the parallel, thanks 🙂

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