Thursday, August 4, 2011
What Are You Afraid Of?
"Fear has been instrumental in setting your course whether your parents are alive or dead. Whether you grew up happy or sad, wealthy or poor. Whether you know it or not. Fear has developed your likes and dislikes, picked your friends, and raised your children. Fear has limited your potential, excluded possibilities, and controlled your choices." Rhonda Britten, author of Fearless Living: Live Without Excuses and Love Without Regret
Fear is a very common reaction to the unknown. It arises in us all when we feel that our security and safety are threatened. The unknown is daunting. We fear the repercussions of our failures and the burden of success. We focus on what we may lose as opposed to what we stand to gain. Fear is often the result of trauma (conscious and unconscious). But, fear is necessary to our individual and collective survival. Fear is the signal of danger that elicits a physical reaction referred to as "fight or flight". It is how we manage our fight or flight response that will determine the life or death of a project, business venture, relationship, or even ourselves and others. (You've gotta know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em...know when to walk away and know when to run!)
For some, fear can be paralyzing. The very thought of trying something new or different sparks a downward spiral of worry and self-doubt. "What will people think? What will people say? Am I smart enough? Am I good enough? Can I pull this off? Will my friends and family support me? Will I be sorry if I don't do it? What if I fail? What if I succeed?" This cycle is never-ending, decisions are never made, and much time is wasted on this fruitless activity. You are giving away your power.
For others, fear is what drives them. It is the fear of losing position, notoriety, friends, respect, material things, relationships, etc. that causes them to leap into action. They play "not to lose" instead of "playing to win". The fearful do just enough to keep what they have rather than devise a plan to change and grow and improve themselves. Their self-esteem is low and they often question whether they are even worthy of their blessings. They sabotage themselves for fear of success.
But, it doesn't stop there. They then go about the business of tearing down others. They will take your ideas and endeavors to others and encourage them to throw their hats into the ring. They will pretend not to know where you have been and what you have been working on. They will suggest that you have "changed" or are engaging in questionable behavior. They will whisper derogatory statements in an attempt to downplay your successes while maintaining the appearance of a supporter. They plant seeds of doubt about you among the very people you love and have love for you. (You know, they cast a little "shade". But, don't despair--your light shines brightest in the dark, so protect it. Besides, shade gives you rest and relief from the heat! Re-charge your batteries and come back stronger!)Without a reflection of what they could and should be staring back at them, it becomes easy to justify their lot in life. It becomes easy to maintain the status quo.
The fearful have now completely succumbed to their cowardice. The rationale is this: "If no one around me gets better, then I won't have to either." The real failure here is not realizing that one's success is met only in part by hard work, preparation, and perseverance. God blesses and chastises whom He pleases. Feelings of envy and jealousy are useless and misplaced. The real dissatisfaction lies with God Himself.
Likely you are aware of the notion that if people are talking about you then you must be doing something right. There will always be opposition from people who are resistant to change, especially if your changes diminish the benefits you have brought to their lives. You cannot please everybody, nor should you attempt to do so. Do the necessary work of getting to the root cause of your fear and then free yourself from it. When you come to know who you are and what your purpose on this earth is, be yourself and be great at it. Be yourself without asking permission, without hesitation, without worry, and without fear. Be unapologetic. Be your best at everything you do. Be reminded that God made no mistakes when He created you and sent you into this world. And lastly, be clear that you answer only to HIM.
Be good to yourself! More next time...