by Alana van der Merwe

Fear is an amusing concept. The overwhelming emotion of the absolute worst happening can often cause you to shrink away from completing a task. Fear can run thick through your veins, freezing you both emotionally and physically. I have seen fear erode away at a mind, to the point of not wanting to leave the house because they were so sure everything would go wrong.

Consumed by your own mind is no way to live a life. Life is a mixture of complete chance and unexpected adventures, but you need to help the universe along sometimes. You need to be able to take a leap of faith, knowing that in the end, it never really is that bad. If it is now, that only means that it is not the end. Mistakes are inevitable, but that is really all that life is: A series of trial and error. If you don’t try, you would never know whether it was a mistake or not.

When fear and anxiety creep into my mind, I like to ask myself:

“What is the worst that could happen?”

If the answer is not death or imminent threat to my life or loved ones, it won’t be that bad. Humiliation is temporary and humans forget. It is both the best and worst thing about us a species.

“Why am I afraid?”

More often than not, the answer to that question is: people. I am too afraid to do what I want because I am afraid of what others will think of me, and whilst that is an admirable trait in the prevention of mass global convictions, getting a third piercing or tattoo really won’t land me in a prison cell. Anything new is sparkly until time inevitably dulls it.

“Will I regret this more if I do it or if I don’t?”

Regret is a completely futile emotion to have. Its effects can crush the mind, sending it into a loop of replayed memories and can lead to depression. But there’s no point. Regardless of the action, there is often very little one can do to mend a situation once the damage has been done. So, stop thinking about it. Of course, this is much easier said than done. I like to fill my mind with other tasks, such as reading or writing. Perhaps painting or sketching is more your thing. Whatever it may be, fill your mind with more pertinent matters: gender inequality, racism, animal rights, even recycling your plastic water bottle; all these things can help better our meagre world, much more than dwelling in a pit of sorrow because you published an article online and people hated it. Dust yourself off and try again. Because it is much better to look back at a situation, knowing how it turned out than wondering for the rest of your life how it could have.

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