There have been so many moments in my life when I have found myself scared to death and excited at the same time. Those are some strange emotions to have together, but I think a lot of us experience the combination quite a bit. When we’re young we’re scared about anything new and different, but as we get older we are able to differentiate between the things that are really scary and the things that are a good scary. Really scary things are like mean, biting dogs that can run faster than you, crazy drivers you can’t control that are driving on the same road as you, and when you don’t remember your own name. But good scary things are different.
Good scary things are the things that you try to avoid even when you know it’s inevitable. Things like moving away from home, or any moving at all, starting a new school, adulting in any form, and sharing something important to you with someone you don’t know very well. These are good scary things, because they’re things that bring growth and new opportunities. Things that you know are good for you, but scare you no matter what.
This is when you apply the age-old advice like “Face your fears”. Don’t apply it to the crazy drivers or fast dogs, avoid them, I’m not a fan of horror stories. But I do like happy endings, so face the good scary fears. What I think is important to remember is that happy endings always have rough patches that come first, so facing fears won’t go as smoothly as a staring contest. But when you get through it, there’s always something that you learn.
Good scary is a lot like Finding Beauty in Unexpected Places, when you have to see things the right way to appreciate them. Like when you go to the gym and you’re sore for the next week, but the soreness is actually because of building muscle. The pain makes you stronger. With good scary, you are able to push past the fear which in and of itself makes you stronger, but you are also able to experience and learn from whatever the scary thing is. The good compounds as you gain experiences, learn lessons, find new opportunities, and even encounter more good scary things.
Next time a scary thing comes around, check and see if it’s really scary or if it’s a good scary. If it’s a good scary, face it head-on and embrace it for all of the good things it’s going to bring you. Whether you’re a new adult beginning a responsible life, a neighbor saying hi to a stranger, or a writer or other artist looking to take the next step in sharing work, know that it’s a good scary thing.