The Fear Soliloquy

Fear is a more effective motivator than I’d like to admit.

Ever since I was introduced to it several months ago, this quote from Jean-Paul Sartre has been a splinter in my brain:

You must be afraid, my son. That is how one becomes an honest citizen.

Off and on, usually at the most unexpected–and occasionally inconvenient–moments, I have pondered the truth of it. How does terror move people in a good way?

Lost in a series of hypothetical situations, a rampant imagination easily finds the worst possible scenario most of the time. How can that make someone “honest”?

I remember the moment I realized fear can be productive or unproductive.

A couple of weeks into 2010, with the freshness of a new job–one I’d desperately wanted–having fell through, I parked my car in the driveway. Still buckled in, I contemplated my frustration to the soft beat of raindrops on my windshield. Directionless and confused, I stared straight ahead for a few long seconds.

A tear rolled gently down my cheek and I quietly apologized to God.

Though I was unaware at the time, the moment represented a monumental shift in what I feared. After 30 years of being driven by what others thought, I had unwittingly chosen to be guided by something else: deeper meaning. And, of course, this is the point at which I let go of the desire to hide what I think and feel for the sake of my “image”.

Fear of this sort–defined by others’ evaluation–is misplaced love.

It’s an obsession with control I do not have, an infatuation with the misguided idea I can mold another’s thoughts without their influence. It requires an internal and unproven illusion of importance.

If I allowed this to run my life, I would keep whispering silently to myself in the halls of my own mind, hiding from the world despite how much it may benefit someone else.

What “scares” me now is separation from my purpose.

This first affected me when I diverted from a career in law into the health care field eight years ago. It is now the hallmark of my mindset in terms of writing to share what I see of the world and how I make sense of it.

As I took the initial steps in laying my cards on the table, the old fear nagged at me.

I became afraid of the ramifications of my actions, how it would change my relationships with people I dearly love. I picked a distant corner of the internet and went about discussing my metamorphosis.

No one was supposed to know.

Deep down, I was afraid I wasn’t good enough.

I still placed more value on the external world.

Finally, I stopped pretending these words were not a gift.

I am doing what God gave me a unique ability to do. I made a critical decision to be more afraid of letting Him down than anything else.

I connected my work to the public forums at my disposal and opened the door to my mind.

In turn, I have been blessed by the gratitude and encouragement of others.

Messages from all over, from friends and strangers alike, have shed a spotlight on something I knew all along. Thanks to them, I have slowly acknowledged my talent–in a manner so deliberate I am still growing into it. What I have been taught and accept more each day is this:

The point is not to be unafraid–bravery is merely the control of fear. The key is to be afraid in the right way.

ALSO IN THIS SERIES

The Fatigue Soliloquy

The Failure Soliloquy

The Focus Soliloquy

The Faith Soliloquy

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7 Responses to “The Fear Soliloquy”


  1. 1 Elysia July 20, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    Beautiful! 🙂

    Love the way you write Jase.

    And the points you made all ring very true!

    Elysia 🙂


  1. 1 The Failure Soliloquy « MeBuilding Trackback on July 21, 2010 at 8:16 am
  2. 2 The Fatigue Soliloquy « MeBuilding Trackback on July 22, 2010 at 7:21 am
  3. 3 The Focus Soliloquy « MeBuilding Trackback on July 23, 2010 at 7:38 am
  4. 4 The Faith Soliloquy « MeBuilding Trackback on July 23, 2010 at 7:55 am
  5. 5 Top Posts, July 2010 « MeBuilding Trackback on August 4, 2010 at 10:51 am
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