Posted by: VoiceinRecovery | July 7, 2010

What If I Let Go of Fear

I have decided to do my first “What If Challenge” inspired by @Fitarella. As I started to write this – I realized my “what-if’s” were mostly fears and not the things I wanted to do in life, but kept putting off! I hope you enjoy, I tried to make the blog come full circle.

As excited as I am to move back to California, I do have several fears, concerns, and struggles with being completely excited and this has left me a little uneasy.

I moved across country, founded Voice in Recovery; started to build a platform for my voice, networked with individuals and groups in the Body Image, Eating disorder, self esteem, and mental health communities. I have challenged myself in finding & expressing my voice. I have met people I NEVER would have in the past. I met people I didn’t ‘know’ in real life, and only in social media. All of the success I have had in Boston I realize isn’t because I moved to Boston. The social media world can and does exist everywhere. I found out I could pay my bills (a HUGE accomplishment considering for years it paralyzed me with anxiety and I relied on my parents to help take care of them). I found out my relationship has grown with my boyfriend. It has been downright tear/heartbreaking, and also full of joy. I have learned how to recognize my behaviors in relationships, and also how these patterns do not have to be who I am. I have a CHOICE in all of my life. I found self empowerment.

Moving home, I worry that it could potentially be moving backwards. This is of course, an unfounded fear. I LOVE moving, it feels like a change, and all the things I have done here in Boston have re-affirmed my ability in not only LIVING my own life, but succeeding in following my passions. I do worry it is a fluke, that it happened because I was thrown into an environment I was unfamiliar with, and had to either sink or swim.

So here are some of my fears, concerns, worries, etc:

–          What if I can’t do what I want to do?

–          What if I go back to who I was then?

–          What if I get sucked into the drama that I struggled with then?

–          What if the focus on looks in California affects my body image?

–          What if my vision for ViR fails?

–          What if I have no more friends there, than I do here?

–          What if California is a comfort zone, a place where I do not challenge myself?

I know all of these are fears, not realities. I often have fleeting concerns & catastrophizing of situations that have NOT yet occurred. Notice the word – fleeting. In early recovery, this was NOT the case, I would buckle under these fears, and let anxiety and panic attacks come full force because of what I thought I KNEW would happen. Fortunately, with therapy and CBT, I know how to talk the talk and get out of that thinking. The thoughts haven’t disappeared, so much as become quieter. My authentic voice has become louder than the fear voice.

So in honor of the “What-If” challenge, I have decided, what if I decided to LET GO of all the fears and worries I have with regards to the move, and continue living my life, day to day, being mindful of any new real challenges I face. Live authentic in the moment, and basically CONTINUE to do as I have been doing. Obviously something is working, and allowing my old thinking, and fears any weight in my head will do no good. I have found that what I am doing is always moving forward. I may have moments where I feel I am slipping, but I am always facing the future, and my goals, with flexibility and excitement. I am going to consider all the What-if’s are a blessing, a gift on the road in recovery and life.

Fears are simply not the deciding factor anymore in my life. Fears are blips on the radar, and I have a choice as to what weight I give to them. I choose to recognize them for what they are, and what they are not. They will not guide, nor determine the choices, or path I take in my life. I have benefited greatly from challenging each and every fear along the road in recovery, and this is simply not going to change. I will continue to fight the fears, and challenge myself. My dreams, my passions, my goals are worth it. Below is the Tattoo I got before I moved out to Boston & it is my daily reminder.

How do fears affect your life? Are you able to counter the fears?

What ‘What-If’s’ are you missing out on by listening to your fears?


  1. I envy you your love of moving! I like staying in one place and getting comfortable. But my spot in life right now means I will be moving around a little bit before finding the right job/tenure track position.

    I love this blog and have you on my blogroll. I try to do the same thing in my blog: talk about recovery to let people know it really is possible.

    • Hahaha like I wrote in my Comfort zone post – we all have different comforts. I find moving comforting, and social meetups anxiety ridden up until the moment I meet people & then am fine! Thank you so much for reading, adding to your blog roll. I think talking about life in recovery is so important. It IS possible! 🙂

  2. Fears affect my life on a daily basis….but the also lessen every day.. Thank u God. I seemed to have a difficult time each time I said I would let go of my fear…so I changed it…to What if I had no excuses..that seemed to propel me forward for now..

    The one thing I have found about recovery is you can’t ever go completely back…maybe a few steps but not completely…but that has been my experience…

    • Jules – I REALLY like that, especially the part about recovery and how we handle slips. I constantly tell people, we may slip, fall, fall face first, but it all depends on the direction we are facing. Recovery is about learning, it isnt black or white. We need to ALLOW and learn from all struggles. I almost am more grateful for mini struggles, because it keeps me on my toes!

  3. Great post. You just reminded me of some of THE BEST advice I ever received… “Be yourself as you’d be if you weren’t afraid.” I’m excited to think about the ways that this might be relevant for me now, specifically. Thanks for sharing!

    • Such a great piece of advice! It takes a long time to just BE ourselves, but phew! so worth it. Thank you for reading & commenting!

  4. I do admire your posture before fear. I wish i could have the same but so far i cant live without the fear of not fitting my size 2 jeans or my small t-shirts for kids while im an adult. I know my motives are so stupid! I mean, caring about clothing size instead of taking care of my health but as much as i’ve tried this is the best i can do without being hospitalized every year. It´s been 1 1/2 year without hospitals or facilities for EDs so i hope in the long run, maybe with my kids? I’ll get rid of all of my fears. This is what i can have full control of and no one can chance my choices!

    • All I can say is it is ALL about baby steps. I NEVER would have imagined I would write a post like this a few years ago. All of a sudden I look back & realize how far Ive come. In the moments we often disregard little steps, and choices. Its a journey, and you will get there. Congrats on 1.5 years with no hospital or facility!!

  5. loved this!! so glad you joined in on the what if party. i’mma link this up to BLB this week. xoxoxoxox.

    • hugs to you my dear 🙂 xoxoxooxoxoxox

  6. Great post. I have a lot of fears too and think that I need to start in on this what if thing, myself. Fear is the craziest emotion for me because rarely are the thngs I am afraid of actually based in any kind of reality. I can’t remember who said it but I think it goes something like “do something each day that scares you” and that has been so powerful to me.

    • I agree! I used to have all sorts of irrational fears. But even my rational ones still come up & I really need to let them go in order to not create unwarranted anxiety, be open to new journeys & be present when fun things come up! 🙂 Thanks for the comment

  7. I have some of the same “what if” type fears. Like with school and a new job and new husband. I constantly ask myself “what if I can’t do this job” “what if I’m not a good wife” “what if I get my degree but end up hating the field I chose to work in”. Uncertainty is scary, but fear will only be a hindrance to accomplishing your goals and following your dreams. I have decided, as you have said, to just live day by day and just see what happens and enjoy it!

    • It goes along very nicely with mindfulness! Keeping present to enjoy all the gifts along the journey 🙂

  8. I USED to have many man fears, some were based on reality and some were fears I made up in my head. My fears paralyzed me. I was so afraid all the time that my stomach hurt, I had headaches and I could not function.

    When I started counseling I was actually afraid to give up my fears because I THOUGHT this would mean I would have nothing to talk or think about.

    Now over a year into my counseling, I realize that I have very few fears left and I am working on getting rid of the last of them.

    Because I have less fear, I have been able to stop taking about three medications I used to have to take. Less stress meant those physical ailments were not as much of an issue. My stomach hurts less, and I am no longer paralyzed by my fears. I use problem solving skills and logical thinking to counter them.

    I enjoyed your post!

    • I can SOOO relate. I used to have extreme panic attacks, where I would constantly end up in the ER, with my hands and feet turned in and stuck in a rigid position. Now I am able to think and use my tools to be able to NO longer be on meds and function in society 🙂 Thank you!

  9. One of my fears is that I’ll have to go back to a desk job spending all of my hours in an office somewhere with a mean boss (this was my old situation). So I change that fear into motivation to work hard, stay inspired and keep reaching for my goals. 🙂

    • Oh that is my life now!!!! lol I think turning fear into a motivator is great! Would-a, could-a, should-a’s & fears be damned! 🙂

  10. you’re are incredibly brave.
    and the tattoo is stunning.

  11. Fantastic post, Kendra, as always! Very insightful – and uplifting, too!

    I’m a worry-wart by nature and my list of fears is long. 🙂 I also need to remind myself regularly that they’re irrational. The backbone of these fears, at least, for me, is the worry that I don’t measure up, that I can’t do it; it’s a lack of confidence in my own ability to cope or succeed that’s the problem. Like anything else, it’s a process.

    I’m excited for you about your move, and I know you’ll do great anywhere!! You’re such an inspiration to soooo many people.

  12. […] and eating disorder awareness bloggers, Voice In Recovery, is an amazing look into fear called what if I let go of fear. Just read […]

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