"Fear is a paralyzing force that twists deep in the gut, churning out anxiety and reasons not to act. Its seductive logic convinces us that now is not our time and winning is not our right. Worse, fear takes on a numbing familiarity, becoming as automatic as brushing our teeth or checking text messages...We learn not to want, not to expect, because we’re trained not to see ourselves as more than what we’ve been told to be. Thus, fear becomes as familiar as air, an automatic caution against bucking the system." -Stacey Abrams in "Lead from the Outside." .
There are subtle and overt ways we are conditioned from a young age to adulthood to be hesitant, fearful and doubtful of our abilities in this world, especially as black & brown women. This rings doubly true for folks who try and challenge systems made to benefit a few at the expense of many. .
Fear, self doubt and anxiety are pervasive for many. I have anxiety even when a friend I’ve known for years invited me out to dinner. I have an often paralyzing fear of heights. For me to engage in a hobby like rock climbing, compete in national competitions, be outspoken in this climate and try for ambitious goals means I am constantly subjecting myself to situations that feel frightening and uncomfortable. .
Fear never goes away for me an it takes consistency in therapy, medication, community and privilege to simply manage it. It also takes saying yes to fearful situations--even if I’m internally screaming that I’m not capable or deserving of the occasion--and showing up anyways. Abrams writes: "We must identify our own uncertainties and doubts and develop the habit of rebutting them. Like muscle memory, turning fear into a companion rather than the driver of our worst decisions helps improve how we lead." .
I needed this today, hope Abrams' words help & encourage you too. 🖤
Photo by @andreasassenrath