“You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your purpose, and to do it courageously.” ― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
You can’t sit with us.
I am fascinated by fears and phobias. More specifically, the weight we give to them.
Recently, a friend went through a tough time. She was terrified of running into someone for fear of what would happen if she did.
In a rare, lucid moment, I said, “Think of being trapped in a room with a mouse. We are scared of them when in fact they are just as scared of us, if not more.”
Moments later, she realized her own power. Meanwhile, my brain nearly short-circuited from delivering a Danny Tanner-like life lesson. (See what happens when you get a good night’s sleep?)
We all have missed out on opportunities because we couldn’t step outside of ourselves and rise to the occasion. It’s a terrible feeling to live with. I figure you might want to conquer it before you are on a talk show embarrassing yourself.
As a gay minority, I have a firsthand look into how fears, bias, and stereotypes cripple people as if they were trapped in a room with a rodent. Hopefully, once dispelled, they can chill the f#$% out. (We can only hope.)
I’m terrified of wrinkly elbows that resemble vaginas, but I somehow manage to make it out of the house every day during tank top season. Some things have to be confronted.
Forged in fear
A few years ago, I was afraid of leaving my hometown, friends, and family. I forced myself to move because I knew I needed a change.
At one point, I was afraid of running, not because of the physical toll, but because my butt cheeks slapped together just like the waves of the ocean. (True story). I have since invested in compression gear and run several half marathons. (I will save the “loose booty” story for my book. What can I say? When I do things, I do it big).
More recently, blogging scared me. Each time I began to type, I felt hindered by who I could potentially offend or how “perfect” my words had to be. At times, it felt too vulnerable. If I revealed too much, what would others think?
It’s still a work in progress. It has taken a long time to use my voice authentically, but I keep on keeping on. I was afraid of writing. Now, others tell me that I influence and inspire them.
My point in sharing (including the “loose booty” story) is this:
Conquering fear doesn’t depend on being unafraid. It counts on the courage needed to press on regardless.
Rewiring and redirecting
Growing up, so much of my fear was indoctrinated, consciously and subconsciously. I was carrying the burdens and fears of others. I took so much in, I was never sure what I personally felt or believed.
When I heard “That’s cute, but WE don’t do ” or “You can try, but THEY won’t let you have ,” I took it as gospel.
It took a long time to grasp that listening to those voices immediately takes you out of the game and contention for the things you want in life.
I heard “no” a lot. I told myself “no” a lot. Until I stopped accepting the word in my life.
If a door closed, I began to understand it wasn’t for me. If it truly mattered to me, I worked to find another way in.
My rule is this: If it scares me or immediately puts a pit in my stomach, I have to deal with it.
If it genuinely terrifies me, I have to tackle it.
I have to press on and push myself. There are things I want to accomplish in life. There are plenty of obstacles in my way. I can’t be one of them!
For me, not confronting challenges in life is the same as death. It is a reminder of being meek and afraid, and ain’t nobody got time for that.
Facing the unknown
So often, when something ends, we fear all is lost and nothing will be the same again. Very rarely do we envision it could work out, if not ultimately become better than previously.
Anytime I am scared, I think of a crowd fighting for their rights being hosed down and chased with dogs and contemplate if I have the fortitude to step up for a greater cause. It gets my ass right where I need to be. (These methods are unorthodox, so figure out what works for you. Truth be told, I am a few deposits short of a balanced account.)
Faith requires patience. Persistence requires fortitude. Both are needed to conquer fear. What’s on the other side is beautiful.
Finally, get used to my voice. I have a feeling you will be hearing a lot more of it soon.
Do me a favor. Let someone know you value their voice and if you can, encourage someone you love (or yourself) to be brave in some way. At the very least, you will have an extra hand to hold in tough times.
Tell me: what do you want to find the courage to face?