By Mr. Billy Marsh
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”—FDR
Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously spoke those words during his inaugural address. The world at that point in history was beset by clearly identifiable fears—the economic realities of the Great Depression and the horrors of having come through the First World War with another larger conflict looming. Essentially Roosevelt was saying to the American people that our greatest enemy was fear. But our fears are often a personal thing. How can we be expected to succeed against an enemy that is both individualized and internalized. While there is no simple or easy answer to that question there are things to remember and practice to help you move through your fear and conquer your greatest enemy.
You are not alone. This is perhaps the most important thing to remember. It is one of the things that binds us together. We all have a fear of something. It can take many forms—snakes, heights, public speaking, etc. –but simply knowing that you are not alone is for many the first step in rising above your fears. When you give voice to your fears you allow yourself to bond with others who have been through the same experience. Allow yourself to learn from their wisdom.
You are in control. You may not be able to control the things you fear, but you can control how you respond to them. By acknowledging your fears and accepting them as a part of who you are, you take the first step towards conquering them. While you may never become one hundred percent comfortable speaking in front of crowds or meeting strangers, by accepting the simple fact that these things cause you fear or increase your anxiety you give yourself the space to find ways to overcome those feelings.
Our greatest enemy is fear because it steals our greatest asset—time. We are each given a set yet unknown amount of time. Fear robs us of the opportunity to live our lives to the fullest and wastes that most precious of gifts.