Have you ever been scared shitless?

As in, “The worst possible thing I can imagine is hiding right around the corner from where I am standing.”

It’s the same fear we felt when we just KNEW there were monsters under our bed.

Now that we’re grown ups (sort of), the monsters are things like health scares, job insecurity, or a relationship that is going down the toilet.

Those monsters feed on our fear. Left unchecked fear turns into pain, anxiety, and even paranoia.

Ors is that just me? Something tells me I’m not alone here.

I’d love to be fearless. In fact, it’s the #1 thing on my list of desired character traits. And sometimes I am. Sometimes I can imagine a monster, realize that even if it does come around the corner, it won’t kill me, so why worry about it?

Other times, I can be so paralyzed by fear I can barely function. I have spent hours, even days, operating on the notch between fear and hysteria. I go into fight or flight mode, shutting down almost everything in order to survive. Except my adrenal gland. That kicks into high gear, which doesn’t help. That *might* be helpful if, say, I needed to run away from a bear. But I rarely have to run from a bear. Twice a year, tops. The rest of the time it serves as unnecessary fuel for my fear.

But we have to get out of bed eventually, regardless of whatever monsters lurk beneath.

Fortunately, the process today is the same as it was when we were seven. It is a simple process, but that doesn’t mean that it is easy. When I’m scared shitless, here’s what I do:

1. Summon courage. Somehow, every one of us has a magical reserve of this. I sometimes have to dig for it, but I can always find it when I look for it.

2. Take one Step. Ideally a step toward what you want, or away from what you don’t want. But really, any step will do at first. Just move.

3. Repeat.

As simple as the process is, the more fearful we are the easier it is to forget the steps. I’m thinking of getting them tattooed on the back of my hand so I can remember them when I need them the most.

Just to be clear, this is NOT a cure for fear. It is a process to function — to get moving and keep moving — in the presence of fear. In my experience, standing still when I’m scared shitless never helps. It’s a whole lot easier for the monsters under the bed to grab you (or a bear to eat you) when you’re standing still.

This whole idea can be summed up like this:

Be fearless. But when you can’t be fearless, be courageous.

mark henson mark only signature

P.S. I am courageous WAY more than I am fearless.

P.P.S. If you’re scared shitless about anything right now and need someone to talk to, leave a comment below or email me. I’m always in your corner, especially when you need a little extra courage.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *