I have a friend – and I blessed to call her that – who is a truly wise woman. So many times when we talk, I walk away a more insightful person because of her wisdom which always challenges me. She showed me her wisdom again last night. After embracing me in a congratulatory hug for my new book – – okay, my only book – – I told her how different I feel now that I am on this road of my dream. While excited with the knowledge I was going where my heart led me, I told her I continue to press past my comfort level, something foreign to this anxious-ridden, love-to-stay-in-life’s-pajamas kind of gal. This led to a discussion about comfort zones and fears that prevent us from moving forward. My friend told me she now forges ahead in life, facing her apprehensions head-on by asking herself one question – “what is it that I am afraid of?”. Once she determines what that is, she begins to take steps to tackle it with the hopes of eventually stepping over these fears to move on. The ability to bring down a fear is admirable for sure, but what really is impressive and that has me in awe, is her willingness to find an honest answer to that question. I would be fine with avoiding the answer because it would mean facing the reasons behind my most deepest fears. Those reasons can be my demons in life and who wants those pesky things around?
Let’s face it. We all have fears that keep us from taking steps in life. If not now, we did have them at one point in our lives. It’s part of being in our human bodies. We fear being lonely, unsettled, going against the norm or making fools of ourselves. My two biggest fears which cause me to stand completely still are failure and rejection. Both loom over all of me like an unwanted steel beam ready to fall. Sometimes, they are an inch above my head, and sometimes they are ten feet above me depending on the task. Fears are probably the crux in most of us that prevents our propulsion forward. But, like my friend, we have to ask ourselves, I have to ask myself, what is reason that holds us back…holds me back?
Another wise person in my life, my husband, has played devil’s advocate to my anxiety of stepping forward for most of our marriage. (Hey, we do other things too! ) I have a million ‘what ifs’ packed into this already over-crowded brain of mine. My husband advised me once me to counter each one of them with ‘what if not’. For example, with the thought of ‘what if I don’t get this job’, he would suggested counter that thought with ‘ but what if I do’. And he’s right. I will never truly be prepared for what comes my way. I don’t know the outcome before the outcome and I will never know it until I try.
If we ask ourselves what is it that keeps us stagnant in life, and counter every fear with the ‘but what if not’, perhaps we can lift up our glued-to-the-ground feet and become freer individuals. With our new found freedom, we can begin to live our lives instead of just existing in them. And no, I didn’t come up with this wisdom,but I am starting to learn it.