When you look up the meaning of the word fearless, you get things like “lacking fear”, “free from fear”, “without fear”.
However, since I started paying attention to fear and its paralyzing effects on our lives (particularly those on creatives’), I have noticed so many people whom although you’d expect to be “fearless”, talk about their fears. Sometimes, they express their fears not just occasionally, but quite frequently.
So who is fearless? Do such people exist? As a creative person, you might struggle with fear a lot. Fear that your work is not good enough. Fear of not making the right choice. Or fear that your talents and skills are mediocre. Maybe you struggle with the fear of rejection – the fear that you’ll not be accepted as a “true” creative.
Many people have fears. Actually, I’ll go as far as saying everyone has fears. Yet when we have fears about something we wish we were as fearless as this imaginary “fearless” person. Does this person really exist? Have you met him or her? This person who lacks fear or who is without fear?
This week, I clicked on a link in a newsletter and I was introduced to Jessamyn Stanley. Jessamyn is a big woman of color who describes herself as a “yoga enthusiast and fat femme”. She’s out there doing her thing, making bold yoga moves that most of us can’t do, all while being photographed with close to no clothes on. That’s someone I’d look at and say, “Wow! she’s fearless”.
Yet, while I was reading her interview, she made a statement that caught my attention. She said,
I find myself constantly coming into conflict with fear, and seeing that I don’t stretch my wings or step outside of certain boxes because I’m afraid. The people and things that really inspire me are those who just live in their truth without any fear of repercussion. ~Jessamyn Stanley
The people who inspire her are those who live in their truth without fear of repercussions. Do they exist, these fearless ones?
Jessamyn Stanley, the epitome of fearlessness is inspired by the fearless ones. Totally, unbelievable. So I ask again, where are the fearless ones, do they exist?
I don’t think they do.
Everyone fears something. What I believe is you don’t end up “lacking fear” or being “without fear” as the dictionary defines it. Rather you learn to master it in different areas of your life. In some areas much more so than in other areas. Jessamyn alludes to the fact that we have different boxes of fear. Some are easier for us to step outside of than others.
Does it mean we lack fear in those boxes of fear we easily step out of? Not by any means!!! It’s relative rather than absolute. In those areas, we have LESS fear than in the other areas we struggle with.
Fear always exists.
For that reason, the word “fearless” should be defined not as “lacking fear”. Rather it should be defined as, having less fear. And while we’re at it (redefining words and re-writing the dictionary), we should re-write the word “fearless” and bring less in front of the word fear. Like this:
Fearless = LESSfear
So that instead of putting the emphasis on “fear”, we put it on “less”. Less, not as in without, but as in relatively small. When fear is no longer the focus but less is, whatever you were fearing becomes doable. Because you no longer have to get rid of fear completely to be able to do it. All you’ve got to do is fear a little less for you to be able to take a step forward.Put that way, we all can overcome fear. You can be fearless. (LESSfear)
So my creative friend, stop waiting to get rid of fear completely. Take that step forward with LESSfear. Many people are making bold moves in life, not with feark\lessness but with LESSfear.