It seems to creep in at the most inopportune times and remove all sense of rationality and judgment. Before we know it, fear turns the smallest thing into what is going to be the worst thing we can imagine. How does such a small word hold so much power and when it is present, drastically alter our decisions?

Last winter what started as a tight ankle turned into a navicular stress fracture. After a year I am just finally feeling like things are starting to click again. On my good days, running feels like what I was made to do. On my vulnerable days, I notice any and every sensation of tightness and fear is ushered in. My mind is flooded with fear-driven questions and thoughts.

What if this tightness is how my last stress fracture began? If it keeps feeling tight, am I going to have to go through all of this again? If I have another injury, is time to give up? Soon enough I have convinced myself that the sky is falling and am wondering what I am going to do/how I am going to make it through it. Once I have reached the bottom of what my mind can imagine, fear has raged the extent of its ugly head.

But when I stop and I break it down, fear is simply a feeling that I am having. Even if I am feeling fearful, I do not have to align myself with it. I have the power to choose. Do I give myself to fear and allow my mind to go down that road, envisioning the worst possible scenarios? Or, do I choose to not allow fear to dictate my response? To trust in the process, to believe that everything will work out, to be grateful for where I am, and to focus on how I am making progress.

This is a choice that is easier said than done, but I am focusing on identifying those times when fear starts to creep in and challenging that fear. On my vulnerable days, I want to be someone who is able to see fear for what it truly is: just a feeling that I am having, and rise above that fear. To realize that living fearless is only made possible by identifying the fear that I feel and not allowing that to determine my thoughts and actions. Here’s to learning to live fearless and free!