Yea, I got tons of cheesy fucking headlines. I’m holding back.
“You aren’t afraid anymore, you’re now free.”
We have a lot of fears but had even more before. The fears that are resonating with me the most in this stage of my life are the fears of not having money, of dying, of developing a serious illness and fear of being hurt emotionally.
At first I was gonna make this post about abolishing fear. Sure, seems like the logical next move upon realizing a fear. But it’s easy to make an enemy out of something we want to dispel. These are the battles less often won.
I grew up with a bit of an unhealthy dose of fear of dying. Don’t quite know where I got it. I thought about it more than my friends, at least from what they were willing to admit to me.
I had a few near-death experiences like any dumbass young boy which made things worse. They make you feel closer to death and at the same time more afraid it. Fuck, every weekend I’d surf in SD I would have moments of being paralyzed by fear of getting attacked by a shark. It didn’t keep me from peeing in my wetsuit. And despite the warm urine encircling my half-frozen corps I was weary of shadow zooming by under my board.
Then a while back I had those lumps in my neck, and let me tell you, it threw me into a whirlwind. What a terrible and awesome experience. I wrote a lot in my journal then, reevaluated my feelings towards serious illness and death, and became more free in the process.
I’ll spare you the details but I came out of that experience with the byline of ‘die before you die’. I forgot where I read that but it stuck with me. Interpret it any way you like but to me it means to face death and come to terms with it before it happens to you.
You face the fear, not fighting it but accepting it, recognizing it. Then you are free to live your life whether it will be a peaceful century long or a short turbulent few years.
Facing Your Fears
You live your life differently once you face your fears. Unfortunately this will alienate a lot of your friends and family who expect you to continue on the same trajectory.
When you change it threatens the identity of those around you. At first they will retaliate but if you remain calm and patient then they will come along for the ride.
Sometime in 2002 I met a really special woman. I didn’t have a lot of maturity when it came to relationships and did everything wrong, textbook wrong. I distanced myself the more attached I got to her and our relationship slowly faded.
I went through my own mess, dropped out of medical school, was allowed back in, and finally got my shit together enough to make it through residency.
In 2011 I rekindled my relationship with this woman. As soon as we reconnected it was as if we had never stopped dating, at least for me. My fear of fucking up the relationship was still partially there, I didn’t really do much work in that category of my life but even worse I had accumulated more fears along the way.
I had become a workaholic and had developed a weird relationship with money. I was hating money because I knew it wasn’t good to give money too much power.
Before you can take power away from something you have to first embrace it, accept it, let it take you over, face your fears regarding it, and finally develop a relationship with it. I just kept money at an arm’s-length away at all times. I accumulated it rapidly and got rid of it even faster.
Then I started saving it, hoarding it perhaps. It was during this time that I started using excuses with myself regarding the relationship with this really wonderful woman.
I didn’t want to take time away from work to see her, I still didn’t want to open up to her emotionally and I didn’t want to get into a relationship with her because she had student loan debt.
I got really disgusted with myself after that. I knew I had sold out, casino-style, to my job and to money. I made some very bad decisions after that and sabotaged my personal life to punish myself. I lost really important relationships.
Back to my point… for the 2 of you still reading… I have rekindled with this lady which has me excited not just because I still have that really deep connection with her but also because I’m looking at my old self and I don’t have those same fears. It’s the weirdest fucking thing. The same person, me, with the same woman, in damn near the same relationship but without all that weight.
If you asked me a few years ago whether it’s possible to get rid of that baggage I would have said “motherfucker, you crazy!”. Not to say that those feelings and insecurities, fears and hesitations can’t just creep back in. All they need is for me to lose my connection to the moment and they will have a way back in.
Yet I’m writing this, fully aware of that possibility, back together with my girl and I’m witnessing something that’s confirmed what I now believe is true. The purpose of these posts is just that, helping myself and whoever is interested, to develop a new relationship with money and everything tied to money.
Hating it, fearing it, hoarding it, giving it away or not wanting to understand it. Every single person has their own relationship. I suspect that each of us eventually has to come to terms with it through a very similar path though.
Fear of money, fear of success, fear of failure and fear of being hurt are all mind identifications which we accumulate on our journey through life. Facing them, accepting them, not fighting them and then redefining our relationship with them is a very realistic way of not being owned by them.