Fear is a huge force in keeping us from attracting what we want — we tend to rely on it as a false sense of safety. . . . Ultimately, all that worry is actually creating more of what we don’t want.”
“I try to read the signs. If everything’s pushing in one direction, I tend to go that way. If six things line up to say, ‘Yeah, you should do this,’ I’m not going to be the person who says, ‘No, I’m too scared.’”
These quotes — from authors Gabby Bernstein (this month’s cover subject) and Pam Houston, respectively — stopped me as I read this issue of Experience Life. Featured in different stories bookending the magazine, they seemed especially appropriate considering this month’s theme, “Fear Less, Live More.”
Bernstein’s quote gets to the heart of fear and its power to prevent us from chasing our ambitions and living our most satisfying, joyful lives. If we let it.
Houston’s insight is about noticing the opportunities in front of us, bravely putting ourselves out there — where it might be uncomfortable, where we can’t know what will happen — and living more fully.
The more I think about these passages, though, the more certain I am that they intrigued me because they’re things I struggle with.
I am (and always have been) a rule follower and people pleaser. I often hold parts of myself back, concerned more about what others might think than how something might actually affect me. I don’t like to fail, appear vulnerable, or disappoint, so I tend to stay within the safe lines and lanes.
These intrinsic characteristics have helped me succeed in many ways — but they also hold me back from realizing the full potential I know deep down is still waiting to be tapped into. They stop me from pursuing the interests, passions, and dreams that are bubbling beneath the surface, waiting to be acknowledged and embraced. They keep the unedited me in hiding.
So as much as it scares me, I’ve decided to share a few of the ambitions I’ve been keeping inside:
• Write a children’s book. Since the passing of my nephew in 2014, I’ve had a specific concept for a story in my head; it’s time to put it on paper.
• Do a sprint triathlon. The open-water swim scares me and is the primary reason I haven’t done this. Yet.
• Be an exceptional wife and mom. If you’re familiar with Rachel Hollis’s work, you know that she uses the word “exceptional” intentionally. It’s not about being perfect, but about showing up and putting in the effort every day.
• Be authentic. Rather than hesitate about sharing my thoughts, ideas, and interests out of concern for what others might think, I need to stand proud in who I am and what I love.
Everyone handles fear differently, but we all have the opportunity to move beyond it and create more experiences of true joy and meaning in our (and others’) lives. Sometimes all it takes to get going is a little nudge — be it a word of encouragement, a quote, maybe even this column, or another article in this issue.
So what’s something you’ve been holding back? What signs are in front of you, just waiting to be noticed? If you’re ready to put it out there, find someone to share it with who will cheer you on. You can even email it to me: I’m only a message away at firstname.lastname@example.org.