by Wendy Keller, encourager of humans
Sometimes, we feel trapped by circumstances. Things aren’t going your way and you’re powerless to change them. If you’re feeling like there’s really nothing you can do to improve the quality of your life and the lives of those around you, here’s a radical perspective: maybe you can. Maybe you have more options than meet the eye.
Let’s take the example of a job you dislike, or have merely outgrown. If you’re like most people, you probably have a long list of reasons why you couldn’t possibly leave your current job and do what you love – or what you like better (which is a step in the right direction, at the very least.) You’ve got bills to pay, people who depend on you, your car isn’t up to a longer commute, it’s fairly easy for you to complete your tasks at work, it’s a bad economy, you don’t have the training…on and on. We all can create instantly a long list of reasons why we can’t have what our hearts say we want.
Here’s the real reason you can’t have what you want in your life: FEAR.
Plain old stupid annoying fear.
Think it through – you fear what will happen if you can’t pay your bills; you fear no one else will hire you; you fear if you go for your dream and it doesn’t work out, you’ll have no dreams left to nurse you through the hard times.
Your reasons are perfectly valid for being afraid, and you are 100% entitled to them. We can cling to our fears as long as we please. But as long as we cling to them, life doesn’t get any better, does it?
I was thinking this morning about what fear is. I mean really. We’ve all heard “Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real”, but the problem is, it really does seem real! (Just like the monster who lived under your bed when you were six, remember?)
Here’s what I’ve come up with. I suspect that Fear is Ego. Fear is your ego screaming at you, telling you you’re not big enough, strong enough, powerful enough, capable enough to get what your heart is begging you to achieve.
We normally think the ego is about arrogance. It can be that, but I observe that it is also some sort of protective mechanism. It doesn’t want us to get too hurt. The pain, dismay, sadness and disappointment we live with now is bad, yeah. But the ego is concerned that things could get even worse! Then how much worse would you feel about yourself? How much more damage would it do to your bruised self-image? What would people say?
If you look around, the whole society appears to be set up to be fear-mongering. The news talks about wars and crime. People say mean things about other people behind their backs. Probably, some of the people you know openly disrespect those who try to achieve their dreams and fail. Maybe you’ve absorbed a critical inner voice from your childhood. Fear is everywhere. Your ego doesn’t want things to get any worse, and by protecting you, it’s making sure (ironically) that things can’t get any better.
So what the HECK is a normal human supposed to do?
Most of us aren’t heroic. We’re not going to burn the ships, cut the ties, file for divorce today, quit the job tomorrow, or move to the Caribbean next week and finally open a dive shop.
Here’s an idea: start with the tiniest little step in the right direction possible. Just one. A baby step. Just type into Google “best diving in the Caribbean” or “jobs in human services” or “divorce attorneys in Dallas.” Or buy one measly book off Amazon on the topic of your desire. Or just smoke one less cigarette today than you did yesterday.
If “the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step” and “Fear is Ego” and “S/he who hesitates is lost” then by taking one miniscule, not-too-scary step, you’ve made a small amount of progress. Your ego will probably be OK with that tiny step. It’s not too terrifying. You can probably trick it by taking another tiny one tomorrow or next week, too. (Shhhh! Don’t say that aloud! It’s listening!)
Pay attention to how it feels inside your soul/heart/spirit/solar plexus to take the tiny step. Is it thrilling? If it is, that’s every fiber of your being saying, “Go on! We believe in you! Keep going!”
Introducing my new Monday morning once-a-week email that is chock full of encouragement for you.
I’m calling it the “Good News Letter”. Want it? Just…
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