These are the voices which we hear in solitude, but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter into the world. Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Is fear holding you back from living your fullest life and being truly self expressed? Put yourself in the shoes of the you who’s already lived your dream and write out the answers to the following:
Is the insecurity you’re defending worth the dream you’ll never realize? or the love you’ll never venture? or the joy you’ll never feel?
Will the blunder matter in 10 years? Or 10 weeks? Or 10 days? Or 10 minutes?
Can you be happy being anything less than who you really are?
Now Do. The Thing. You Fear.
I’ve been waiting for Lachlan Cotter’s prompt. First, I fell in love with his name – saying it aloud is like warm caramel for your vocal chords. And it conjures an image of a story hero who is two parts angel, one part devil, who mows his own lawn, and leads a double life as a secret agent. Then, I fell in love with his web site The Art of Audacity – an in-your-face, what-the-hell-are-you-waiting-for guide to Living with a capital L. You have to love a site that welcomes you to its mailing list with an email subject of “Congratulations, Badass.” I’ll take a dose of that, please and thank you!
I had no idea his prompt would require me to face my personal boggart in the wardrobe…my Dementor….
It’s a hell of thing to wake up to when you haven’t finished your coffee.
But someone…Someone…is trying to tell me something. The knot in my throat and the matching one in my stomach tell me nothing’s going to change until I find a way to beat it.
You know that old chestnut, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself”? What do you do when the thing you fear shapeshifts? Grows heads like a Hydra? It’s all fear but one head is Success, one is Failure, one is Rejection, another is Criticism, another (for some reason) is Fat, another is Appearing Brainless, another is A Broken Heart, another is Inflicting Hurt, and there’s Regret. And if I beat one, three more pop up in its place…
Whoa! Okay, sister, hold on a minute!
Who are you?
I’m the You who followed your dream. See the prompt for details.
I see. Is that anything like “She Who Must Not Be Named?”
Very funny. We need to talk.
Ya think? If you have some answers, I’m all ears.
Well, that’s what we’re here to find out…if we have any answers. I’m willing to bet we do.
God, I hope so. You know that whole “Trust” thing? I’ve been more focused and more decisive than in years past, but…it’s like most of those changes have been superficial. No one was going to get hurt if I was wrong or if things didn’t work out. But now…
Okay. I know. It’s hard. If it was just you, if there was no mortgage, no kids and all that, the occasional screw up would be easy to manage, right?
Right. At least I think so…
Well, just go with that idea for now. What happened to your mantra of “trust God, trust the process, trust yourself?”
Nothing! I keep telling myself…every day…it’ll be all right. Even if you don’t have a solid answer now, just put one foot in front of the other and keep going.
Okay, then let’s cut to the chase. Look at the prompt. Is the insecurity you’re defending worth the dream you’ll never realize?
I am NOT defending my insecurity! And what do you mean “the dream you’ll never realize?” Didn’t YOU live the dream?
Yes, as a matter of fact, I did…and I am. You’ve made a difference in the lives of a lot of people. Not always in grand ways. Most of the time it was in ways you weren’t even aware of. And by the way, your books did really well, both the fiction and nonfiction.
So WHY are you clinging to this insecurity you have? You’re not confronting fear! You’re using it as a shield! You’re not afraid of hurting people with your mistakes or “wrong” decisions…you’re afraid of hurting.
You’re the one who’s afraid of hurting…because every time someone close to you hurts, you feel it. And every time someone expresses disappointment in you, it hurts. And hurting makes you feel weak, and you don’t like being weak. You don’t like people thinking you’re fragile.
I take it by your silence, I’m onto something…
Look, Liz, you’re a tough chick. And it’s not because you have a right cross that can stop a truck. Look at everything you’ve been through in the last 42 years. You’ve survived embarrassment, heartbreak, mistakes, bottomless grief, job loss (twice, I might add), and now you’re taking on new things that are out of your comfort zone…there’s no doubt about that.
If you make a mistake, will it matter in ten minutes? Yes, it might. In ten days? Yeah, it’ll bug you a little now and then, and if someone else had to deal with the blunder, they might be a little disappointed or honked off. That’s okay. You know as well as I do that you cannot, can NOT, control how other people feel or react.
But will the blunder matter in ten weeks? No. Because you will be onto something new. You will have written it out, sweat it out, or cried it out, or something beautiful will have come along to take its place.
Will any mistake you make matter in ten years? Girlfriend, unless you’re the CEO of a company that goes belly up due to mismanagement of funds and puts a thousand people out of work, odds are NO mistake you make is going to matter in ten years. It might prickle under your skin once in a while…when someone or something reminds you of it. But there will be plenty of joyful memories to smooth it over and wash it away. You will have much more to be grateful for than you will have to regret…and you will have learned the art of learning from your own mistakes, recognizing them for what they are, and moving on…rather than letting them paralyze you with fear.
Lachlan is right. Defending this insecurity, this fear, is not worth the dreams you’ll never realize, the love you’ll never venture, and the joy you’ll never feel. Risking and failing hurts a lot less than getting to the end of your lucidity and realizing you never tried.
Can you be happy being anything less than who you truly are?
Well…you know your Dementor now. It’s Hurt, not Fear. But your Patronus still works. Trust. Still. Works.
Pain is going to happen…but the greater pain is realizing how much time you wasted being afraid.
- #Trust30: Personal Message (gpangie12.wordpress.com)
- Reflections: Facing Our Fears (eof737.wordpress.com)
- Fear: A Blog Post (sanjaysabarwal.com)
- Afraid to Do…#Trust 30 on Few Words Thursday! (hopeannfaith.wordpress.com)