Be not afraid

My new tattoo

The official results letter has arrived and it’s confirmed that the lump in my breast is not cancerous, but abnormal (perfectly safe) breast tissue. To say I’m feeling relieved and grateful for my health is a gross understatement.

On the heels of this news, however, I learned from a friend that her husband recently attempted suicide. He is thankfully okay and in therapy to treat his depression, but the news left me reeling and deeply saddened.

Periods of my life have been tough – some downright anguishing – but I’ve never considered suicide. It’s never been an option for me. Something deep down in me told me things would get better. I can’t imagine not having that little voice, that hope, no matter how small a shred it was at the time.

Both of these events have gotten me thinking about fear. As an early birthday gift, my husband paid for me to get a tattoo – a simple phrase on my foot that, when translated, says, “Be not afraid.” A friend uttered this phrase when I was going through a difficult time a couple years ago, and it stuck with me. It’s since become my mantra at home, at work, at the gym…everywhere.

I think it resonated so strongly with me because I’ve come to realize that fear is the root of so many of our actions (or inactions) and emotions, as well the people we become. When we’re stressed, we’re really just fearful. When we’re anxious, we’re fearful. When we lash out at people, fear is likely the culprit. And when we can’t get ourselves out bed every day and see no hope, fear is usually there in the picture.

I don’t want to live in fear, so I’ve made a promise to myself to practice little acts of personal courage each day, whether it be taking on a new challenge at the office or taking on that huge hill I usually avoid on my running route. These acts won’t change the world, but they’ll change my world for the better. I have no doubt about that.

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