“Fear: False Evidence Appearing Real.” ~Neale Donald Walsch
In a moment of despair—moments I find have been increasing this year—I turned to this site for a little comfort. After reading a couple articles, seeing that I wasn’t alone in what I was feeling, I still couldn’t help but remain terrified of the next part of my life.
Job searches were wearing me out. I was trying to figure out where I wanted to live. I desperately wanted that dream job. All of these things had instilled a fear inside of me that I once thought I’d be able to overcome.
And then a year passed and poof, magically, there was no more sense of confidence, but instead a sense of fear.
Then I saw this quote. And I wished that I’d come up with it.
It says a lot, I think, about the way certain words work in our brains without us even realizing it.
“False Evidence Appearing Real.”
We all know that being afraid of the future is just as silly as being afraid of our own shadows, and yet we fear it all the same.
The answer is within the quote; it’s a false sense of reality.
We imagine what we don’t want to lose and instantly grow afraid of that loss. But we’re being bamboozled; we’re duping ourselves out of a secure sense of “now” and replacing it with an insecure sense of “what if.”
The only reality that exists is in each passing second, and yet with each passing second comes the agony of not knowing what will come next. It’s a struggle, and nothing more than that.
So what can we do to heal this repeating, self-inflicted wound?
If you think about it, hope is fear’s antithesis. In a way, hope is the reality we wish to see in the future, and fear is its shadow.
Fear simply represents what could go wrong. Our inability to see—let alone control—our futures makes us anxious that the shadow will overtake the well-lit dream.
The difficult part is overcoming that shadow with courage and hope. It’s something I struggle with everyday. It’s something with which we all struggle.
But when I feel as if the chips are stacked against me, deep down a little voice shouts out from underneath all of that emotional rubble and says, “Don’t give up, Chad. Keep going. Keep fighting.”
I attribute this bravado to my parents. My whole life my dad would say those three words to me, “Never give up,” and my mom would tell me, “You can be whoever you want to be, and you’ll be great at it.”
Funny how easy it is for a child to accept such words, but when you cross that line of adulthood, you seem to forget the ease of believing in hope.
Nonetheless, that voice of mine sprouts up when I need to here it most. And every time it does, I get a surge of energy pumped through my heart as if an EMT was resurrecting me. I feel as if nothing can stop me, and I believe in hope once again.
It’s a hard thing to do sometimes, but it’s necessary.
Although I’d encourage not devoting too much thought to the future, if you can’t seem to shake those shadows, just remind yourself of what it is you’re hoping for down the road and give yourself a pep talk to achieve those dreams.
After all, you’re still that vulnerable, moldable child underneath that aged surface, and that child still needs to hear those words of encouragement.
Take my parents for instance. They have been holding on for five years now, working to get a business started during a sputtering economic climate, but they haven’t faltered.
Of course, there were, and still are, a lot of bumps on their road, but sure progress moves in baby-steps, and their dreams, their hopes, inch closer to becoming reality day after day.
When I need encouragement to press onward, all I need to do is think of what my parents are going through and how they can still make me smile and love life just as easily as when I was growing up.
That’s where that voice of mine comes from. We all have it; you just need to dig deep enough to find yours.
Hope is not a bad thing, as long as you don’t live your life in your daydreams. Hope keeps us alive; it encourages us to reach out for the good of humanity, to keep on truckin’ even when we think the goings are just too tough.
So when you’re arrested with F.E.A.R., just remember H.O.P.E.: Holistic Optimism for Progress and Encouragement.
Photo by Casey David