Let’s start off with this pearl of wisdom:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Marianne Williamson (emphasis my own)
I think one of the saddest things in the world is to see potential go to waste. We all have missions in life, gifts we have to offer the world, but many of us shrink back instead of rising to the calling.
Well, we’re scared. Scared that we won’t make it, that no one wants what we have to give, that we have nothing original to offer, or we’re just afraid of taking the risks that come with being great.
On the other hand, a lot of us are unconsciously terrified of actually succeeding. We’re afraid to be seen, or to have the openness required to become truly inspiring. We’re afraid that by breaking social norms or class restrictions that we’re “getting above ourselves”, somehow betraying our own.
In our society with it’s Puritanical ethics, we feel that acknowledging our gifts and potential, we’re being prideful or that by taking the time to develop those gifts, we’re being selfish. We’re making others uncomfortable. We feel that by stepping into our greatness, we are somehow wrong.
No wonder we’re so terrified of our own light.
And it’s totally ok to be afraid. Give your big scary monster a hug and tell him this:
- It is my responsibility as a human being to share my light with the world.
- Taking the time and space to develop my gifts and realize my purpose isn’t selfish. Not reaching out to those who need me, hiding my gifts, not leaving my handprint on this world…now that would be selfish.
- Pride and confidence in my abilities are not the same thing.
- Everyone has a purpose, and so do I.
- I can succeed. I will succeed.
So I thought I’d kick off the Big Scary Monster series with some tips on how to actually make friends with our big scary fears. Embracing our fear can seem like a weird thing to do, because aren’t fears something to be conquered?
Remember, fear is how our minds protect us from things that could potentially hurt us. What would happen if we weren’t afraid of anything? We wouldn’t last long, that’s for sure. We’d all be jumping off cliffs and quitting our day jobs before we even have a business plan or a book proposal.
On the other hands, my favorite quote about fear says it all:
“Fear is just excitement with the brakes on.” –Jessica Mullen
We feel fear when we’re about to do something amazing, but potentially unsafe, stepping into the unknown. Whether we’re launching a new business, sending our creations into the world to be looked at, trying a new dance class or just learning to feel our emotions without eating them, we feel fear because we’re moving into an unknown space, and our Big Scary Monster is there to protect us.
Here’s a few tips for giving that monster a big hug and then passing through him:
- Recognize your monster: Understand that he’s only there to take care of you. Thank him for doing so and move on.
- Ask him what he’s protecting you from: Vulnerability, rejection, physical injury, uncomfortable emotions. What are you really afraid of? Of marketing your jewelry line, or of opening yourself to rejection?
- Develop a solid base of self-love: Though this can take years, I find that it’s the best cushion for taking a big leap. If you fail, do something stupid, totally screw up, you still love yourself and know of your own worth, whether your book gets published or not, whether you stuff down your emotions with a package of Oreos or not. Give yourself a hug and know you’re ok.
- Baby steps: Instead of showing your monster who’s boss and launching a massive marketing campaign for your knitwear line in one day, take baby steps. Create a blog or webpage. Set up a Twitter or Facebook account. Get on Etsy. No need to do all that in one day and then travel the country promoting yourself, just stretch a little here and there until the previously unknown becomes familiar territory.