“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook
I want you to read this again, and ponder for a minute. That’s right.
Close your eyes, and think. What would I do if I weren’t afraid?
Am I even afraid? Of what?
Just this morning I was getting ready to meet family for brunch at my sister’s house. Casual deal, but a dear friend had just gifted me the prettiest earrings and I wanted to wear them! I picked them up, and put them down.
I paused long enough to listen to the voice in my head: : “it’s too fancy. They will think you’re too fancy and make funny comments.”
Well, fear of rejection, here’s what I have to say: I will put them on, because I like them. My family probably won’t care either way, and I will feel just a tiny bit more awesome.
Do you have that small voice dictating your choices? Of course you do! That voice may even sound strangely like your mother’s.
My son Simon (2 years old) refuses to wear anything on his feet but his big sister’s old crocs. Yep. Feminine white crocs with faded purple and pink butterflies.
Does he get not-so-subtle stares and smirks? Yes. Do I get them too? Of course! I’m his mom! But I refuse to let fear of what people think get in the way. He will wear what feels comfortable, and if I remember correctly, God never said: ‘I am creating all colors and animals for you to enjoy, however butterflies and the colors pink and purple shall be for females only.’
That is something we learn, just one more box we have to fit in. And then we turn around and we squeeze our children into that very same box! Because we have approval issues.
Here’s the truth: people –and that is EVERYONE; close friends, acquaintances, family, the old lady sitting across from you on the train- will judge you no matter what.
So now you have a choice! You can try and fit into everyone’s expectations of you (I hate to spoil this for you, but that is a miserable path) OR you can refuse to play it small, and be 100%, genuine, YOU.
Maybe you are afraid of confrontation?
“Well I can’t call my mom/friend and talk about the way they hurt my feelings/said something inappropriate.” Why not? Yes, that is scary.
But it is also a jail. You lock up yourself up, reduce to surface level conversations, and you create fake relationships.
Do you know what’s on the other side of that scary, messy but brave conversation though? Beauty. A deeper connection to your mom. A true, genuine friendship. You may not always see eye to eye but you choose to love and respect each other no matter what.
Or maybe you are afraid of success? Maybe you always compliment others but downplay anything positive said to you?
I wonder if it comes from what we are told as girls:
“Don’t be too proud. Don’t be too much.”
“Not too loud darling, there are people around.”
“Don’t run too fast! You may get hurt.”
The fact is, you were created for a purpose and you may have to unlearn what was said to you growing up.
You are a beautiful, intricate mystery knitted with extravagant love and deliberate attention to every detail.
God is looking at you in anticipation, a sparkle in His eyes: “I can’t wait to see what she does with all that she is!”
So, what are you waiting for? Refuse to play it small. The world is missing out on you.
Feed your soul with empowering reads -I love anything Brené Brown!- meditate, and speak words of thanks over your life, your relationships, over the little people entrusted to you.
Look at yourself with the eyes of the Creator, with love and compassion and grace and enthusiasm for what the day will bring.
I know. It is easy to say, “be brave”.
You know what though? Being brave is not the absence of fear.
Being brave is feeling the fear, and doing it anyway. It’s doing it scared.
And I believe that is all you.
Keren is a world traveler, wife and mother of 3 children -who keep her on her toes! In a past life she has worked as a Registered Nurse in pediatrics, Montessori assistant teacher, blog writer and French teacher. Her days are now filled with caring for her kids, managing two health and wellness communities -one in French and one for English speakers- as well as educating others in natural remedies and how to make everyday products using essential oils. Her favorite day is Sunday, when she gets to enjoy church community with her husband while kids are having a good time!