When Do You Let Fear Go?
A lot of us are scared. Worried. Anxious.
We have good reason; there is a lot to be anxious about.
Lots of things scare me. Terrorism, serious illness, growing old and losing the people I love. I try to remind myself that it’s the juxtaposition of fear and courage, despair and hope, desperation and joy that gives life it’s spark. We need the depth to feel the heights, right?
It’s hard to co-exist peacefully with fear and anxiety though.
Sometimes I’d like to pretend fear and anxiety don’t exist, deny them, or grind them into dust under my running sneakers. But I can’t.
A man I knew once told me a story. It began like this: “You know nothing scares me, but…”
I was astounded by his lack of insight. Was he kidding himself into thinking he was fearless, or did he think he was fooling me into thinking he was? I don’t believe in fearlessness. I’ve never met anyone like that, have you?. I don’t think that’s what courage is made up of.
Courage is staring your fear in the face and taking a risk anyway.
For some of us, taking a risk means jumping out of an airplane, rock climbing, or talking in front of a huge crowd. For others, our fears lay in matters of the heart. Exposing ourselves enough to be loved. Admitting our failings. Saying we are sorry.
How do we summon the courage to take risks? Over the last two years risk taking for me has meant challenging my assumptions about what I “can” and “can’t” do. It has meant writing this blog, putting myself increasingly “out there” and making my dreams of sharing the healing power of art with more people a reality both in my office and around the world.
For me, It all started with one question. One that I hope maybe you ask yourself right now:
What would I do if I had no fear?
It’s a very powerful little question, isn’t’ it? It got me wondering about what has happened for you when you have set fear aside.
What risks have you taken, even though they scared you?
“Failing” is scary.
You wonder: What if people think what I’ve done is stupid?
What if people think I’m stupid? Ugly? boring?
I’m giving you permission to entertain the questions:
What do you really want? What would you do if there were no limitations?
What would you do if you had no fear?
I’d love to know.