Each year I make some very specific commitments to myself. They’re not New Years resolutions per se. They tend to be anchored to my birthday and are borne of introspection and a desire to make changes to certain aspects of my life that I find to be inadequate or unfulfilling. As a result of these promises to myself, I’ve made progress towards becoming more the person I actually want to be and less of who society tries to tell me I should be. 

And still, there are times when I am forced to admit that improvements can be made because I failed to strictly adhere to the plan I crafted for myself or sometimes, because I stuck too closely to it… A thing I’ve noticed in the past few years is how much fear can play a part in the decisions that people make. It’s one of the things I try to avoid – “the only thing to fear is fear itself”. I’ve done my best to embrace every experience and try to learn from them. But as I’ve expanded my interactions outside of the confines of my introversion, I’ve come to realize that there are a lot of people who are going through this life propelled solely by their fears. It’s incredibly off-putting and I’ve started to think, emotionally taxing as well. Being an empath can suck so badly, because the things that people feel can too often become the things that I feel. So I’ve been trying to sort through other people’s fears so I can filter them back out of my life before they derail me. 

Change remains one of the most pervasive fears. Making a decision that takes us out of our comfort zone, creates a bit of temporary upheaval or could possibly not work out in the long run and it keeps so many people in so many unhappy situations, personally and professionally. We spend time going around in circles trying to avoid change because of the uncertainty it creates, even if it means remaining in a state of discomfort, stress or unhappiness. Even the possibility of a better state isn’t enough impetus to try to push past the fear. We try to plan, thinking we can preempt every eventuality and somehow avoid any issues. We forget how fragile and unpredictable life is and think we can somehow control all the forces that act on our existence. We can’t. While our decisions invariably impact our trajectory, the decisions of others does as well. We cannot account for everything. If we spend more time planning, we’ll never get to the execution phase or by the time we do, we would have missed out on time that could have been spent enjoying the process and the achievement. 

I’ve realized that people also have a fear of being alone; they jump from relationship to relationship and accommodate all kinds of toxicity in their lives from others just so they don’t have to be by themselves for too long. Oddly, it feels more like a lack of self-love from many. So many people don’t value themselves or what they have to offer or they don’t try to develop what they have to offer. They can’t exist in their own company for any amount of time. They can’t entertain themselves. They can’t communicate with themselves. They can’t find solace in their own company. But instead of taking time to engage in self-improvement, instead of taking the time to become someone whose company they can enjoy, they seek the distraction of others no matter how fleeting or feigned the interactions constantly turn out to be. Self-love is such an incredibly important thing. Being able to spend time alone is one of the main ways to develop self-awareness and self-awareness is the foundation of self-improvement and becoming a better person.

Fear of vulnerability and being hurt is the counterpoint and it’s so multifaceted and sad. There are people who are so immersed in the bad experience(s) they’ve had, that they’ve closed off from everything. And too often, those experiences were repeated because of the fear of being alone – so much time spent relationship-hopping and not enough spent relationship building. So now, they avoid even potentially healthy interactions and miss out on being loved because they don’t know or love themselves enough to maintain healthy relationships and build intimacy. Either that or they fear getting hurt again because they haven’t fully healed from what hurt them before. Instead of finding the lesson in the heartbreak, and taking steps to heal, many of us pick at the injury until it’s an open sore that all but prevents us from functioning. We tell ourselves we prefer to be single even when the loneliness tears at us. We tell ourselves we want to be “free” even though the only prison we’ve created is within the walls of our pain and fear. We tell ourselves we’re better off alone because we’ve avoiding heartbreak, even as our mental, emotional and physical health deteriorate from a lack of connection, companionship and consort. We tell ourselves we’re happy, even though we know we’re not. 

A big part of the problem is, we think we have more time than we actually do. One of the main things that fear does is it causes us to waste time. The fragility and unpredictability of life keeps getting lost in the feeding of our fears. We keep thinking that we have time to fix things, time to get help, time to attain some level of perfection before we do a particular thing. I keep going back to a story I read a while back about a man who shared a personal experience of how he and the woman he loved put off entering into a relationship because of external issues they felt they needed to sort out alone. Time passed and they eventually came back together, thinking it was now the right time to be together because all the issues were resolved. As they made plans to move in together, a car accident took her life. They were in their 30s, still chronologically young by any metrics and yet, out of time… 

Too often, we forget that happiness is a journey, not a destination and that there is no such thing as perfection. There is no perfect person, no perfect job, no perfect state of being. We lie to ourselves to avoid making changes and taking chances because we think we have time to figure things out, time to create some kind of ideal. We waste time in unfulfilling jobs, toxic or directionless relationships, crushing loneliness, sitting on plans to do something epic, all because of fear. If you’re unhappy in a particular situation or state, now is the time to try to change that. Now is the time to get help. Now is the time to make plans. Now is the time to introspect and figure things out. The best time is always now:


This is my year of now. My year of execution and implementation. My apologies in advance if filtering out the fears that have crept back into my life means that I will have to limit my interaction with you. I encourage you to sit, take some time and look at your fears openly and honestly. Look them in the eyes. Name them. Confront them. Take back control. Be honest with yourself. Set goals. Make plans. Stop lying to yourself. Make sure that your fears aren’t standing in the way of your happiness.

We don’t have nearly as much time as we think we do… 

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