person standing on cliff with arms spread

It’s safe to say that it’s been a year of introspection for me. It’s also been one of practicing courage in the face of fear.

I believe that emotions are here to teach us, especially the uncomfortable ones. They’re signposts that give us direction and guidance. I have spent plenty of time this year peeling back my own emotions to find the core of what they’re trying to teach me.

In that vein, the perfect project beckoned me: The Book of Emotions by Anna Linder. Her invitation is to “all heart leaders, highly sensitives, empaths and survivors” to write about emotions. She focuses on a specific emotion each month, and she will release the full collection at the end of the year. I have a couple of friends who wrote for her book this year, and I decided to work with the emotion of Fear in September.

But before I share that, I should begin with this.

I was extremely shy as a child. I can’t explain it well, except to say that I sensed a bigness about the world and, in some ways, a desire to not be a part of it (also noted in The magic in moments). The fears in my life were a result of that. Fear of being seen. Fear of standing out. Fear of change. Fear of trying something new, or of failure if I did try something new, or of not being perfect at the new thing from the start. And of course, the infamous fear of public speaking more than death. 😉

Although I’ve outgrown this shyness, there are pieces that are still innately me. I’m an introvert (who sometimes appears to be an extrovert). I need time alone. I have to decompress from the energy of others. I have to process what comes at me in my own time. I can’t be pushed into anything. Invited, yes. Pushed, uh-uh.

And I see much of this in my own child. My own experiences have helped me to not only understand his fears, but to also understand his needs. They’ve helped me know when to respect the way he has to process things in his life, and when it’s time to encourage him to move through and beyond a block.

At some point, I also realized that I couldn’t expect more of my child than I was willing to do myself. I couldn’t expect him to face his fears if I didn’t face my own. And so I began to rise up in my own life, to take bigger chances when faced with obstacles. To try new things, to live my own truth, to be authentically me, to follow my own heart.

It takes courage to step through fear. It also takes courage to embrace who you are and let the authentic you shine brightly in the world.

I’ve spent years figuring out who I am, and it took me a long time to realize that I didn’t have to be what the world around me said I needed to be. I’ve been tested with that this year too. I am convinced that each new decade tacks on another level of mastery of the lessons you’ve learned over time, which is why wisdom tends to come with a willingness to learn from the past…and age.

Over more recent years, I have learned that my super power comes from going within. When I become still and listen to my internal compass, I am guided directly to the flow in life that gives me strength, that paves the way, and that opens me up to connecting with the world around me in the most synchronous ways.

My young self knew this. I just couldn’t verbalize it yet. And as I moved into the world, with my fear of its bigness, what I was really feeling was the disconnect from that internal compass. The world was noise to me, and I hadn’t yet learned to listen to my own intuition while moving through it. That process has taken time, dedicated reconnection to the still voice within, and many opportunities for new levels of mastery.

And with that, I present The Book of Emotions, Chapter 9, Fear. My piece is called Fly or Fall.

About Tabitha MacGowan

Hi, I’m Tabitha. I’m an author, autism parent, and advocate of acceptance, compassion, and love. I believe that we are all here for each other and we can co-create the world we want to live in. My book, Phig and the Eaven Prophecy, is a delicious fantasy written from the perspective of a boy on the autism spectrum. I invite you to join me and be a part of my magical world!

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