Face your fears in 2023

Author: Matred Murungi. PHOTO/COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • The vast majority of us grew up in a typical African setting, where speaking up was an abomination in many homes.

A few weeks ago, I happened to reconnect with my roots. It is a ritual that I usually carry out every year, even when I have the last coin in pockets. I love connecting with those communities where my journey began.

Usually, this is a constant reminder not to lose sight of the dreams that were nurtured in those early years. Even just looking at the surrounding environment, there is that feeling of “I just cannot let go”. 
The little girls and boys, telling me their aspirations and what kind of future they look forward to, is a mirror of my own childhood. 

This year particularly, I was lucky to connect with my sisters, four of them. We have one vegetable that our father insisted we should eat in childhood, Chayote Squash and none of us ever liked it.

Many a time we ate it with tears rolling down, locally this vegetable is known as, “ensusuti,” with quite many health benefits. 

A local farmer came home selling each piece at Shs500 and I offered to buy some for the family. All my sisters refused to taste it even after persuasion that the taste could be different this time. I even offered to spice it differently, but they could not listen to any of that. 

They never wanted to be reminded of the “painful” memories when they were forced to eat it against their will. Surprisingly for me, this time the taste was quite acceptable, probably out of listening a lot to Dr Paul Kasenene. 

This experience was a shocking revelation of the many things in life that we have “red-carded” and sometimes inhibit us from reaching our potential, they hold us back from pursuing our dreams and sometimes meeting our new year resolutions.

It is around that time of the year when everyone is drawing down their plans.
Some are talking about acquiring land, starting a side hustle, venturing into a new career, getting married, moving out of a toxic relationship, construction, name it.

Unfortunately, many of us never make it to even 50 percent of those resolutions, or even 20 percent is hard. Sometimes we are limited by circumstances beyond our control but many a time, we are limited by fear.

The fear of past experiences, the fear of perceptions, “how will I be perceived”, “I am not good enough”, the fear of failure, the fear of being judged. 

Whereas some individuals are lucky to have grown up in environments that allowed them to make choices and decisions at an early age, the vast majority of us grew up in a typical African setting, where speaking up was an abomination in many homes and we would be spanked for responding to elders or even making any decision, this was even worse for the girl child.

This fear unfortunately has continued to manifest even in our adulthood, many times without even realising it, we hold back fearing how society shall judge us, we hold back thinking someone else should do it, we hold back thinking it shall work out somehow, we hold back saying “I am a woman, let the man do it”, we hold back thinking , “I am not ready enough to take that next step in my career.” 

We hold back blaming our childhood experiences and we throw pity parties. Why, because we internalise negative messages throughout our lives.

The truth is, unless we face our fears, and come out boldly to take a step towards achieving our best, those plans shall remain beautiful dreams in our minds, and sometimes scribbled on paper but never brought to life.

I know it is not easy breaking all the barriers but start from somewhere. 
Go get that extra skill you thought was a reserve for only particular people, fight that small voice saying, “you are not good enough” and step up. 

Also, seek for support, it is not a sign of weakness when you reach out to senior or experienced people for guidance in whichever area or arena you are trying to pursue; career, marriage and business, among others. Every field has those has-beens and they will give you practical lessons. 

Raise your hand, voice your opinion, it may not be taken each time but trust me, one day that shall be your breakthrough. Most importantly, start somewhere. A very prosperous 2023.

Ms Matred Murungi is a writer and a Communications enthusiast.