Why I'm Not Fearless

This semester I have been thinking a lot about the word fearless. It has come up frequently in one of my classes and in other aspects of my life. We use to "fearless" to describe those who inspire us to be better, live bigger, take more risks, and to do crazy things. In contrast, we think of "fearful" people as timid people who are scared, live in the shadows, and do not experience life to its fullest.

I would not describe myself as fearless.

I would not describe myself as fearful either.

Fearless, according to Merriam Webster Dictionary, means "free from fear." I am not free from fear- I feared moving to a new state for law school, I feared accepting an internship in a city where I have never lived before, I feared applying for a leadership position in an organization I love because I was afraid of rejection. I was afraid to graduate college a year early and be the youngest one in my law school class. In college, I was fearful when I went through sorority recruitment.

The Bible tells us not fear. But fear is a normal part of life. In fact, if you are afraid for some reason, it typically means you care about something. For example, if I were to go skydiving, I would be afraid of bodily harm. This fear stems from the fact that I truly like my life and want to live. I feared taking law school finals because I cared about how well I did on them. I believe that while it is human to fear things, we cannot let that fear overcome us. Fear becomes a problem when we allow it to control our lives and our actions.

Everything that I mentioned two paragraphs ago that I feared, I did them anyway. I love my law school and the friends I have made through it. I am excited for a new opportunity this summer. I went ahead and applied for the leadership position. Despite my fear, I did it anyway.

I would describe myself as brave.

Merriam Webster Dictionary defines brave as "having or showing mental or moral strength to face danger, fear, or difficulty; having or showing courage." Looking into the face of fear and acting despite that fear shows courage. That is what makes someone brave. Having valid fears, but not letting them overcome you. Having fear but knowing that the possibilities of good outweigh the possibilities of bad. Deciding to do something you are afraid of because you know that the outcome of your actions may be more amazing that you ever could have imagined. Knowing that while you may be afraid, that possible outcome is worth the risk.

Telling myself to be fearless is pretty much impossible. Part of my nature is to worry and fear. However, that is okay. I can allow myself to fear, but I cannot allow that fear to control me. Instead of telling myself or other people to be fearless, I tell myself (and others) to be brave. Recognize that fear, but act despite it.

A great quote, mentioned in the movie The Princess Diaries, reminds me to act despite any fear I may have: "The brave may not live forever, but the cautious may not live at all."


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