May 2, 2017
We crave to be seen by others, to be witnessed, acknowledged, included, nourished, supported.
And we are simultaneously terrified of being visible. Those self-sabotaging voices that demand we remain in a place of feeling like a fraud, or unworthy, or comparing ourselves to others, afraid of making a mistake, looking foolish, embarrassing ourselves, playing it small but safe. As if these feelings protect us. But from whom? Becoming our greatest selves? I KNOW you want more. You know you were destined to be far greater than that.
Here’s the thing: You’ve gotta roll up your sleeves here and shine some light on those fears, those bloated, twisted stories that filter out your joy … because fear and joy don’t coexist well. Which do you want? And how long are you willing to tolerate what you don’t want? Why tolerate when there’s so much opportunity to celebrate?!
So WHAT if you make a mistake? Hooray! You’re human! You’re alive! You’re doing life! It matters less THAT you make a mistake than what you do with that experience. Will you subject yourself to 50 virtual lashes for being humanly imperfect? Would you do that if your best friend made the same mistake? Noooooo, of course not. Or will thank the universe for the gift of experience, find the lesson in it, and do it differently next time? How might you reframe it? Think of people you respect who seem to handle life’s challenges with grace – what’s their secret weapon? Humor? Not taking themselves too seriously? Those Life Warriors with a savage thirst and commitment to learning and growing? Where would you LIKE to be? And how can you get there?
Ask yourself the ultimate question: What is the worst thing that would happen if these fears came true?
Play it out in your mind – Would it really be that bad? What if, instead of fearing them, you laughed at them? Damn – you take away their power – BOOM! And what are the chances that the worst will actually happen? Usually pretty nil when you stop to think about it. The Ego Monster in our brains gives our fears a much higher probability of occurrence than reality will typically allow.
What if you discover you enjoy being visible? (GASP!) What if because you dared to step into your greatest self, others found inspiration for themselves as well. Your kids, your family, your friends, even complete strangers. What if someday you get a note from a woman half a world away, or in your own neighborhood, who changed her life for the better because you showed up in life. Because you showed her transformation is possible. Fears are just stories we tell ourselves and, being the authors we are, we can change that story line anytime, in any way we wish. Will you?
And finally, consider the cost. Allow your life to be chauffeured by the Ego Monster and you will forever live in fear, play small, and never reach your potential. You will play out the same story line over and over. Is that the life you seek? Or do you, like so many, dare to question your fears, stop them in their tracks, say “Hey, I appreciate what you’re trying to do but it doesn’t serve me anymore so I’m taking away your microphone and sending you packing. I deserve better. I’m not afraid of you”, push them aside and stride confidently on your way toward your greatest self. Live large. Be brave. Tame the Ego Monster.
The best news? It’s entirely up to you. What are you waiting for?
This topic is of particular interest to me because I’ve personally fought this battle many times. I’ve learned to recognize more often when I’m playing small, when I’m withholding my gifts from others and the world because of fear. Making friends with and, becoming stronger than, your fear is a practice. If you’ve ever played small and decided to transform to living a fuller, greater life how did YOU do it? Share in the comments!