Feel the fear and do it anyway

Recently, I have found myself thinking a lot about the idea of trust and risk. Specifically, I have realized that I do not tend to take a lot of risks in life. The area where this is most prominent is within relationships, where I tend to avoid any instance of vulnerability and true intimacy that comes with revealing my truth.  Why you may ask? In short, because I do not trust myself to be able to handle the potential rejection or reactions of another. And so I keep many things to myself.

While I understand the logical behind this behavioral pattern (i.e. I want to keep myself safe and liked), I am also aware that this habit comes with a high cost. That is, my unwillingness to believe in and trust myself to handle whatever happens when I speak my truth – or more generally in life as a whole – is costing my freedom, my joy, my growth, and my happiness. In short, my fear is costing me me.

The Universe, ultimately being loving entity has been working towards helping myself break free of this habit. To aid in this quest, It has been sending me signs.

The first was a quote from Last Word starring Shirley McClaine and Amanda Seyfried. In the film, the aging Mclaine tells the fearful Seyfriend, “You don’t make mistakes, mistakes make you.” She goes on to explain that “mistakes” not only define and reveal who you are as a person, but also enable you to grow and change. So instead of attempting to hide these “flaws” from view, or avoid them at all costs, we might be better served by seeking them out and holding them proudly as badges of honor.

The second source of comfort came from a book by Susan Jeffers entitled “Feel the Fear and do it anyway.” Throughout the book, Jeffers offers the reader multiple tools by which s/he can re-shape one’s relationship to one’s life. The tool that I have found most helpful, is a mantra of sorts, that essentially says, “No matter what happens, I got this.” I trust myself to handle whatever happens. I am responsible for me and my happiness. I have found both nuggets of wisdom to be incredibly helpful as I have begun to step a little bit more outside of my self-imposed prison.

The question I have for you is this: Where in your life are you allowing fear, in whatever form, to keep you from taking a necessary risk? And what is it costing you? These questions might be applicable to your relationships, your occupation, or even how you relate to you – on and off the mat.

Wherever it applies, can you begin to explore whether it is a lack of faith in self that prevents you from stepping more fully towards the life and experiences you want? And if so, instead of giving into that fear and backing away, can you feel the fear and do it anyways? Can you remind yourself of the reality that you got this and are able to handle whatever comes up – if you choose to do so.  

I believe that we are all like images on photo paper in a dark room. We need the exposure of various chemicals and different lighting conditions (i.e. the experiences and challenges of life) to reveal the beautiful, almost invisible, image that lies below.