Tackling Fear and Finding the Courage to Leap
“Courage is resistance to fear, not absence of fear.” -Mark Twain
Fear, it can be debilitating. It can keep us from ever changing, growing and becoming who we were meant to be. Fear keeps us stuck. It’s a painful emotion that stems from the belief that some thing or action is going to cause us pain or discomfort.
No one wants to feel pain or discomfort, but what happens when doing nothing, ie staying where you are, is causing you more pain and more discomfort, than what we fear most? This is the case when we stay in relationships that we know are harmful to our well-being.
At some point we are going to have to choose and this goes for everything in life. Do we stay on the cliff, being afraid to leap, watching others soar by us, or do we summon up our courage and jump? If you have moments where you are thinking there has got to be more to life than this? You’re right – there is and that is the universe giving you a nudge. If you are waking up every day beside a partner that is toxic to you, going to a job you hate and living pay check to pay check – that’s not living – that’s existing and you were not put here to merely exist through life. You were put here to explore, learn, grow and discover who you really are and what your purpose and special gifts are. That’s why you’re here, not to serve others, not to be somebody’s punching bag, not to support or take care of other people, when it’s a detriment to yourself. You were put on this earth to solve the mystery of you – not to be a slave to someone else’s drama.
How do I be me? How do I find my authentic self? What is my purpose? What are my special gifts? These are questions that we all have to figure out ourselves, but I can tell you that to answer those questions you first have to start by healing that which is wounded inside of you. We have to deprogram that dysfunctional tape that keeps us stuck on a feedback loop, we have to learn healthier ways to cope and communicate and we have to learn how to master our thoughts and emotions so that they don’t control us.
Oprah has said that, “Our lives are always speaking to us.” The problem for most codependents is that we’ve stopped being able to hear. Part of our survival in childhood was based on how well we learned to tune out our needs and feelings. Part of our recovery must be to relearn how to pay attention to the cues we get from the universe.
At this stage of my life I am amazed at just how much guidance we actually do receive. Sometimes things come out of nowhere and it’s the exact thing I need at that moment. It’s an answer to a question I’ve been trying to figure out, or a sign of which way to go. Skeptics will call all these things coincidental, but Wayne Dyer said it best, “For those who believe no words are necessary and for those who don’t no words will do.”
We tackle our fears by moving closer to them. Like Pema Chodron tells us to in, When Things Fall Apart, we have to get comfortable with what scares us. We need to move closer to it, bask in it. A thing is impossible only until it is not. Taking action is terrifying until you take it.
A psychologist dealing with a patient who has an irrational fear of water will have their patient take small steps, like going to the shore of a lake and just sitting there and waiting for the fear to subside. In subsequent visits they will have their patient dip their toe in, next they’ll go knee deep until eventually they get all the way in. This is how we deal with what scares us.
Being outside of our comfort zone is where life is. That’s when all of our senses are on high alert and we are living each day fully in the moment. We were all meant to live full, rich, happy, abundant lives. We all deserve that and if you are not, you have a choice to make. Am I going to continue to exist or am I going to jump?
Keep in mind that jumping comes with a disclaimer. Baby birds don’t get thrown out of the nest and spread their wings and fly right out of the gate. No, they may hit every branch or rock on the way down. They may feel broken and bloodied and terrified lying in a heap at the bottom, but eventually they find their wings and they take off.
You can always play it safe up there in your nest. Never venturing out, never knowing what the world has in store for you, or you can summon up your courage and take that leap. Taking that leap of faith comes with a knowing that the universe will always be there to catch you. I can remember being in that place where I had no one, no parents, no spouse, no home, no job, no car, nothing but my fear. My dear, devout friend Nikos saw me struggling and said to me, “God takes care of the birds and the bees, what makes you think he won’t take care of you?”
I can’t tell you the number of people who have found success in their lives because they really had no other option but to succeed. Necessity isn’t only the mother of invention it’s the mother of success, autonomy, resourcefulness, focus and desire. It pulls from us all of those amazing qualities we never knew were within us.
If you jump and do what you have never done before, know that it won’t be easy, but eventually you will soar higher than you ever thought possible. You just have to decide that you want to and that you deserve to be happy and successful. Do it. Look out over that ledge of fear, spread your wings and fly.
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Image courtesy of satit_srihin at freedigitalphotos.net