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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Holding the Hand of Fear

How many times in your life have you said, “I’ve always wanted to…” or, “I would love to...” and then never gone on to do what you’ve always wanted or would’ve loved to do?

For most of us, jobs and occupations are a necessity. It’s definitely not the majority that gets to pursue their creative dream as a means to completely support themselves financially. 

But too often we confuse our soul work with something that needs to make us money. And if that doesn’t happen, we throw that calling, that soul work, into the consignment pile. Discard it as folly. And get back to getting busy at our day job. But it always feels like something's missing.
 And that's because it is. 

So, what holds us back from doing those things that we once dreamt of? Whether it's writing a book, taking up painting, auditioning for Community Theater, hosting a local cooking club, or any other creative endeavor, it usually comes down to fear. Our fear of not being good enough, talented enough, smart enough, educated enough, skinny enough, pretty enough, witty enough, funny enough, outgoing enough - and, then along with the not enoughs, we throw in a whole bunch of terrible too’s; too old, too tired, too busy, too fat, too broke, too scared.

When it all gets said and done, the fear we have is nothing more than a fear that we will be judged. Someone might criticize us, make us feel less than. Someone might not like us, or the work we do.

These fears and doubts don’t go away on their own, and truthfully, we all carry a certain amount of fear around with us. Even the most seasoned actors can still get stage fright before a performance, or established authors or artists worry about what the critics might say. But they do their craft anyway.

We can start by practicing self-love exercises, such as Mirror Work by Louise Hay. Or, start using a gratitude journal every night, and a mantra or positive affirmation every morning.

But we also need to befriend that fear. To say, "It’s ok, but of the two of us, I'm the bigger one, I'm in control." You are the one that gets to set up the game, make the rules, and just like a young child, the fear, can take your hand, but it has to walk in the direction you chose.
Give yourself permission to knock down those walls (like Towanda in Fried Green Tomatoes) and tell yourself you are enough (because you already are) and ask yourself, “What’s the worse that can happen if I pursue this passion of mine?” And be honest with yourself. Then ask yourself, “What’s the best that could happen if I pursue this passion of mine?” Then close your eyes and let your imagination fly.

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