Wednesday, August 3, 2011

On Fear and Bravery

A dear friend once gave me a blank notebook, and printed on the cover was the phrase "Do one thing each day that scares you."  Great advice.  I never wrote in the notebook.  As a matter of fact, I'm not even sure where that notebook is although I'm certain it's in my house somewhere.  

I've been thinking about that phrase a lot lately.  I have not always been bold with my choices.  I fancy myself a rather conservative person.  I am liberal with my views of the world and those around me, but when it comes to steering my own ship, I maintain a very narrow course and I tend not to make waves.  I sail in calm waters.  I am queen of the comfort zone.  Whenever I see people who dare to take risks in life, who are brave enough to try new things, I get this kernel of discomfort inside.  It grows and grows until eventually it sprouts into full blown jealousy.  Why can't I be braver, bolder?  What makes those people so fearless?  It hit me the other day as Dave and I were talking about doing something we've always wanted to do, but until now have been too afraid to consider.  Everyone is afraid and insecure.  There are no fearless people.  To be truly brave is to acknowledge your fear, and then move past it.  Don't let fear hold you back from anything you want to do in life.  

There have been times I have dared to try things that were scary to me.  But like dipping your toes into a freezing pool, I quickly recoiled the instant things got a little uncomfortable.  That's okay though.  Life is a process.  I now know that once you make it through the uncomfortable beginning of something, there is great joy to be found.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.  Life is too short to miss out on great joy.

Now when I look at people who seem braver than I am, I will try to remind myself that we're all the same.  We all have fears, and whether the fear is great or small we all have to make the decision to move past it and leave it behind, or let it loom in front of us like a big cement wall.

So here's to being brave and bold and daring.  Here's to trying new things.  Here's to letting ourselves be vulnerable to that uncomfortable feeling, because we know the payoff will be worth it.  Here's to adventure.  

Here's to life.

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