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I Choose To Replace Fear With Joy

by BellaWanders

Photo: Bella Wanders

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A few years ago, I decided to make my first appointment with a therapist. During my therapy sessions, I came to the realization that I was very pessimistic. I was seeing life through a jaded lens which caused toxic behaviors and habits. After a few months of therapy sessions, I started to dig deeper and made a commitment to get better.  

My overall goal was that I no longer wanted to see life through the lens of a pessimist — I wanted to actually feel happy. I wanted to experience moments of joy, and I no longer wanted fear to dictate my life. As I began taking the steps towards my happiness, it became clear that whenever something good would happen to me, I would start to think “this is too good to be true,” “I don’t deserve this,” or “what if this is a mistake?” I could not accept things for what they were, I was incapable of living in the moment. 

Once I began exploring why I was so fearful of feeling joy, I came to the conclusion that I was not properly grieving my past. I was still holding on to hurt, filing it in the back of my mind, distracting myself and pretending it was okay to move forward. I then decided that it was necessary to backtrack and grieve my past relationships and past traumas in order for me to let go and properly move forward. 

This meant feeling my feelings, taking accountability and responsibility for my own actions, and forgiving other people for their actions. Resentment, unforgiveness and bitterness weren’t assisting me in healing. In fact, it was only keeping me stuck knee-deep in negative energy and preventing me from opening doors to new beginnings.  

“Grieve so you are free to feel something new” - Nayyirah Waheed

With time, I learned that there is no need to be scared of embracing good things in my life. I was scared to feel joy because it was temporary and I felt that it was only a matter of time before another storm came. Conversely, I have gotten through every storm thus far, so there was no need to worry about the sun not coming back out to shine in my favor. 

Just as there are dark nights, there are also brighter days. Once I changed my mindset and began thinking optimistically, I felt safe to embrace my joy and all the good things that happened to me. There was simply no room to feel joy or peace if I was holding on to past baggage consisting of hurt and pain. I decided to make room for new experiences, new energy and new beginnings.  

It is okay to be happy. It is safe for you to feel joy. Don’t ruin a good moment by focusing on when it will end. Live in the moment and enjoy it to the fullest. Storms come but they also go.  

What are you holding onto? 


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