What Would You Do If You Were Not Afraid?

“What would you do if you were not afraid?”

I don’t know where that quote comes from but I’ve heard it more than once.  The thing is, I have never really paid attention to it beyond the surface level.  After hearing the words, “I’m putting myself out there and seeing where it goes” come out of my mouth one day, and then later in the same day reading the above quote, I realized I had just been given two signs, aka winks, in quick succession.  Signs that spotlighted a fundamental change in my outlook and behavior.  Somewhere along the way, I have made a subconscious decision to push past my comfort zone to see where it leads me, despite the shaking in my boots as I do so.  It seems I’m no longer willing to be hampered by my fears.  I want more.

What would I do if I wasn’t afraid?

Having spent many years in my shell, hiding and staying out of the light so people wouldn’t notice me in an effort to avoid potential rejection, ignorance or pain – some of the things that in the past induced me to crawl back inside myself – I now hear myself saying, okay, I’ll try this uncomfortable thing anyway and see what happens!  Should someone choose to disregard me for some reason, I know that’s on them and not me, and I’m okay with however the situation turns out.  So be it, I tried something new.  As I learn who I am as a whole person, I find I like that person, no matter who else does or doesn’t.  I know I’m being the best me I currently know how to be, and I am choosing to accept and like who I am, warts and all.  Yup, I finally gave myself permission to like me.  Do you know how big that is?  It’s freaking amazing after all these years.

That’s a lightbulb moment, folks.  One that always pops back on if I start to walk down the “I suck” path.

I like the real me.  Real me has a lot of great qualities, experience and wisdom.  If I’m not a good fit for someone else or a situation, it’s not because I suck.  It’s because it’s not a good fit!  And since I’ve let myself out of the restraints, I’ve found there are lots of other folks who do like the true me, besides myself.  Who knew? Well, maybe they did, but I, for sure, didn’t.  

I have also been surprised to discover what a deep, inner pleasure it is living as Authentic Me.  Keeping up a facade is tiring work.  I’m quite sure my soul is thrilled that I have finally caught up to that knowledge.  

With this acknowledgement of my true self, I’ve been seeing bits of me that I left behind in childhood resurfacing and rejoining the party.  I really like that little girl. She has qualities I can pull on in my adult life.  She was gutsy and open.  She was giggly and affectionate.  She was a daring kid who picked the tallest trees to conquer, fearlessly climbing so high that the branch she was on waved with the wind and her weight as she gripped it and looked down at the boys from the top. She thought it was great fun.  At age ten, she climbed the rope in the school gym, persisting until she reached the rafters and in the process, outdoing most of the class.  She was the first kid to memorize the Pledge of Allegiance and taught herself to read before she started school.  She read every biography and book in the library she could get her hands on, devouring book after book far beyond her grade level.  She was fascinated by fairy tales and the lessons they presented stuck.  She played in mud puddles and jumped in the leaves.  She was an explorer who loved roaming in the woods all by herself and making up stories.  She played in the cemetery without fear, reading headstones and imagining the people who lived those lives.  She enjoyed looking at the stars, listened to all kinds of music, and choreographed fancy dance routines like in the movie musicals she adored even though she had never taken a single dance lesson.  She led with her heart and said what she felt.  She tried out for cheerleading on shaky knees, made the team five times and was Captain in her senior year.  She got knocked down a LOT in her young life, most of it emotionally, but physical abuse was common in her homes growing up but she didn’t let it become her path.  She pretty much raised herself yet still stayed strong, connected to her inner being, and dreamed big dreams.  Who wouldn’t want her to join the party?  I like that girl.  I’m very proud of her and amazed she came through it all so well, and now she is coming back out to play after years of laying low. Welcome back, kiddo.

What would I do if I wasn’t afraid?

So I ask myself that question a lot these days when I have choices, what would you do if you weren’t afraid?  What would your little girl do?  Then most of the time, I do the scary thing!  I find myself trying things I refrained from attempting before, whether I’m afraid or not.  I’m more outgoing when I feel the urge.  I talk to people I don’t know.  I’m more openly affectionate than I used to be.  I express how I feel more often.  I go do a lot of things alone that I wouldn’t have done before, and I enjoy them.  I say yes to new things that I would have automatically said no to before even though my stomach is often in knots before I do them.  

What’s amazing to me is lots of good things are coming out of those times when I put myself out there.  For example, the biggest step out of my comfort zone was leaving my old life and moving here to Panama.  I was terrified at what I was doing.  You already know what has come from that if you’ve read my older posts so I won’t repeat them.  Suffice it to say, the change has been enormously beneficial to my growth.  More recently, I decided to find a new roommate. After I read a post of hers on a local site, I contacted a potential roommate about house sharing, something she hadn’t considered until she heard from me.  That’s something I wouldn’t have done even a year ago, ie put myself out there for possible rejection. Instead, now I have a new roommate who is a pretty cool woman, and we get along great.  I have made a new friend whose company I enjoy, and she enjoys mine.  Whether she stays here long term or not, it doesn’t matter, I’m glad I put myself out there because I have a new friend who has enriched my life.  

What would I do if I wasn’t afraid?

I am pushing my envelope.  On a daily basis.  It’s not comfortable.  It’s not easy.  I am almost always scared and have shaky hands while I’m stretching my boundaries.  I may not know what I’m doing nor have any kind of handle on an outcome, but I’m doing something.  Something is better than nothing and then nothing ever changing.  There is so much I want to do before I leave this incarnation, and I know I won’t be doing any of it if I don’t push myself to take steps, even if they’re the tiniest, littlest baby steps, towards something new or different.

I know my soul is happy I’m pushing my human comfort zone.  It gives her more room to experience being human, and this human feels good inside.  Once, a long time ago in an automatic writing session, I asked, Why am I here? What is my purpose?  The answer: to experience being human, to expand and grow.  There is no single great purpose to this lifetime, like saving the whales or the environment or a life or restructuring the government.  My purpose this time is simply to experience what it means to be human and to evolve and gain more wisdom while incarnated.  So, if I try to keep myself contained in a small box so I can stay safe and feel certain, I will be severely constraining my soul’s ability to expand and evolve.

What would I do if I wasn’t afraid?

Frankly, since it feels like I may not ever find a space in this human life where I’m not afraid, and I strongly feel that I must expand (or I will explode!), when an opportunity comes up, if some part of me is interested and feels an intuitive pull or push, I am doing it, probably over the loud objections of my current personality self and survival instinct, but I am doing it, with no fretting about the outcome.  Fear doesn’t get to be in charge of my life anymore.  It may be present, but it’s no longer the boss of me.  

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