My project this year has been conquering fear. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of fear… I’m by nature a people pleaser, a trait that has held me back in a lot of ways over my life. For some reason I think that if someone doesn’t like what I’m doing, or who I am, it has a bearing on me. So I’ve made a vow to myself to let go of those feelings, and do what I want to do, and try really hard not to care what others think. And it has been so liberating! Once you let go of everyone else’s expectations, you are free to be who you’ve always wanted to be.
Going into a next phase of life is kind of like moving to a new town, or going to college. It gives me the opportunity to discover who I am now, what I want to accomplish, what I want to learn. I am not feeling obligated to worry about what everyone else expects.
So what has held me back in the past? Maybe the fear that I might not be good enough. Good enough for whom, you might ask. I can’t answer that. These types of fears don’t have a rational explanation. Or the fear of looking like an idiot? Well, I’ve actually done that, and lived through it. Like the day at Raging Waters when I decided to try swinging on a rope into a small pool in front of an audience of mostly younger people. I grabbed the rope and jumped out over the water, only to find that when my body weight hit the rope I lost my grip and torpedoed into the pool. I only had mild rope burns, and I totally had time to get my swimsuit back in place before I came to surface. And I even am able to laugh at myself about it.
When I was afraid to start living on a budget, it was because I was afraid that I would have to restrict my living. Well, isn’t it more restricting to be broke? Where was the logic in that fear? And why haven’t I written the book I have in my head? Because I’m afraid no one will like it? Who really cares? I shouldn’t. I didn’t start quilting until years after I first wanted to because I was afraid I wouldn’t be good at it. Well how many things are we good at in the very beginning? But when I jumped in and got started, I found that I get better all the time.
And how about being scared to death of going to an Outdoor Blogger’s Summit when I didn’t know anyone there? Guess what? I met a bunch of really cool people there that I wouldn’t have if I had let my fears keep me at home. So the irrational fears need to go out the door so that I can experience life as it’s meant to be. Not the rational fears, like my fear of bungee jumping. Or my fear of singing in public, but we should all be very afraid of my singing. But the little thoughts in my head that have no real basis.
What I have learned is that if I do something that I’m not good at, it’s not that big of a deal. The trick is to try it anyway, and if you’re not good at it, keep trying. Nobody is watching but you. And in the meantime, you might learn something new that you really enjoy, you might make some great new friends, you might gain some control over your life, and you might even have a really good time. So here’s to the courage to try new things!
What fears are you ready to let go of?