There’s a fine line between knowing what the obstacles, pitfalls, and dangers are and using them as an excuse not to go after what you want, or to enjoy the blessings that you have right now.
Most people are doing way more excuse-making and fear-focusing than they are careful strategizing and navigation, or appreciation. They just look for the worst possible outcome and use that as the reason not to do something, or not to be in the moment.
Here’s a quick way to check how fear-focused you are. You are driving and narrowly miss having a collision with another car. After the hit of adrenalin has passed, do you tell your family, friends, coworkers–and maybe even strangers–all about the crazy driver that almost hit you, how scary it was, or how close you were to disaster?
Or do you think, talk, and focus more on how blessed you are that you’re safe, how often you move through life unscathed, and how grateful you are for your healthy body and fully functioning car?
Can you feel the difference?
This doesn’t mean that you don’t pay attention to where you are and where you are going, but it does mean putting problems and obstacles into perspective (how likely is the worst possible outcome, anyway?) and then figuring out how you would navigate around it should you encounter it.
Often, we just take the word or experience of others to keep us from moving forward. For instance, I have a friend who won’t let her husband get on the roof to clean out the gutters because she knew someone who fell off their roof and was severely injured.
That was a tragedy for sure, but how often do people get up on their roofs and clean out their gutters without incident? I’ll go out on a limb and say it’s a lot more often than the people who fall off. And what security measures could he take while working on the roof? Is there a way to curtail the danger and still achieve the goal of cleaning out the gutters?
Have you ever heard parents admonishing their kids, “Don’t run because you might fall and hurt yourself”? Do the temporary tears caused by a skinned knee really outweigh the joy and exuberance of running?
I love Marcia Wieder’s question, “What would you do today if you were more committed to your dream than to your doubts and fears?”
And I’ll add to it. What would you do if you knew every obstacle had a way around it? How much more open to the solutions do you think you might be if you spent more time thinking, talking, and focusing on all the reasons your dream can come true instead of all the reasons it can’t?
Together we can do it!
photo from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/
I catch myself focusing on the fear all the time. Fear is a nasty creature that can take over your life, if you let it. Fearing what might (or might not) happen is just as useless as regretting the past. The trick for me is in believing that everything happens for a reason. I’m older now and have been through a few of the things I once feared. Even if the thing we fear happens and turns out to be just as bad as we imagined it would, it really isn’t the end of the world. I’ve learned that sometimes things have to fall apart before better things can be built. It’s rough, but in the end we’re usually better off for it. It’s natural to be afraid, but we’re not doing anyone any favors by letting fear keep us from doing what we’ve been called to do.
Beautifully said. And while it’s natural to be afraid, it’s not necessary to be as afraid as so many people are. How much life do we keep ourselves from experiencing when we try to keep ourselves “safe?” Sounds like you are doing a great job of shifting our of fear-focus and moving towards the life you want to create. Thanks for sharing!
I’m working on it. Easier said than done, though. My biggest fear is of being judged. I dread taking my kids to the pool this summer because I’m afraid of what people will think of me with all of my cellulite on display. It’s not fair for me to create excuses not to take my kids to the pool. It’s not fair to myself to keep from having fun because of what others might think.
Ah, the struggles. 😉
When you look at others in swimsuits, how much are you judging them? If you do judge them, for how long? How reasonable is it to curtail your and your kids fun because someone might think of you negatively for 30 seconds? I’ve written a couple of blogs dealing with the swimsuit issue. I encourage you to look for them with the search feature and let me know if they help! And remember it’s a process. Practice is where the progress comes from.