We're all afraid!
FYI: this quote is intended to be sung to the tune of Ice Cream (I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream). You can thank me for getting this little number stuck in your head. Also, I did a little research about this song (after it popped into my head as inspiration for my perfectly cheesy picture quote) and found out it was first published in 1927 and it’s actually a full song - you can play it on YouTube for your listening pleasure.
Now, let’s focus on the heart of the matter. WE ARE ALL SCARED. I was speaking with a friend yesterday and we were talking about this: how fear so often holds us back from really putting ourselves out there and doing what it is that brings us joy and lights us up. Cue the shame story for being a scared human. This brings me to my next point.
I’m going to out myself here. I often operate within an old paradigm that I once called home for a long time.. the closet. At 32 I can say with my head held super high that I am an out gay woman but it took me awhile not to be ashamed of who I am. Now looking back on that period of my life I can really see what a rejection of self I endured from the age of 11/12 until probably around 29. And I say endured because I woke day in and day out with a background whisper of “who you are is not okay.” It was not enjoyable but it was my ‘normal’.
How many of us share a similar story of shame? How many of us shed one layer of shame only to find another one hidden or not so hidden underneath. Right now my version of this same paradigm of shame has me continue to conceal myself for fear of rejection. What an irony, right? I am protecting myself from rejection through rejecting myself? What a tangled web of fearful thoughts and fearful behaviours. This is the closet. We all have them. Closet, box, paradigm, limiting belief, etc. whatever you wanna call them. There is some place within us where we lock our true selves away.
BUT WE DON’T HAVE TO. Yes, it can be super scary to think about stepping out of that closet and be you. Heck, you might not even know the you who you wish could step out of that closet. So just play along here for a second, would ya?
Perhaps all those times we’re feeling scared when we want to do something or planned to do something but we delay it or stop ourselves altogether, we instead get curious and ask ourselves what we’re afraid of and seek to really hear the answer. And instead of believing it to be true we view it simply as a messenger, simply our bodies and intellectual minds doing what they have been designed to do- respond to things in our environment. Sometimes it just so happens that those things we are responding to are disempowering, not so true, stories in our minds. We could relate to these fears and anxieties as reminders that we are here to live and feel things. If we go within and find the disempowering story we can shine a light on it, choose compassion and understanding and consider that the loving thing to do isn’t necessarily listening to it as truth but rather an opportunity to lean in to the message. The message could be “hey..this is new…maybe you’re onto something here..”. Often times it only needs us to take a listen and hear it out. It’s like looking under the bed for the monster that isn’t really there- ahhhh that sigh of relief when you take a look and see it wasn’t there all along.
Please remember you are more than okay as who you are and you are not alone in the fear. This fear just doesn’t need to stop us from following our hearts. One foot in front of the other. We can do something. Start out small. It’s often in the avoidance that the story grows louder and louder. So why wait until it’s banging our door down when we can answer on the first knock? Example of answering the door: okay, okay I don’t want to post this blog..? mmm hmmm.. cause people might think it’s dumb… okay… are you happy with it Heidi… Why yessss I am… do you want to honour yourself? …why yes I do… next right step for you?… POST IT.
Where are you holding yourself back? Willing to lean into the fear with love and go for it anyway?
**To add another kicker to this, physiologically speaking, fear and excitement create the same response in the body. So all those times we’re telling ourselves “OMG I AM SO SCARED RIGHT NOW” we actually could be saying “OMG I AM SO EXCITED RIGHT NOW.” Boooooooom. Mic drop. (For further reading https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/03/can-three-words-turn-anxiety-into-success/474909/ ).