Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What Are You Afraid Of?

Do you remember Dr. Seuss’ silly book about the not-so-scary pale green pants?  The character starts off (understandably) afraid of these pants that seem to be walking on their own. But, eventually, he realizes that there’s really nothing to be afraid of, after all. 

Unfortunately, many adults—especially women—have forgotten this lesson.

As women, we are expected to do incredibly brave things on a daily basis—care for children, help with Algebra homework, support partners and spouses, and climb the career ladder. And we do so incredibly well, thank you very much.  But, in reality, many of us are being held back from living a life of joy and abundance, because of our own fears. 

Perhaps, like the character in Dr. Seuss’ book, we fear the unknown.  We torture ourselves with the constant What Ifs. We can’t seem to move forward because we’re too afraid of not being able to control the outcome.

Or maybe we’re afraid of standing on our own, like those pale green pants, because we fear (or have been told) that we’re just as empty or incapable of being independent as they are. 

What are you afraid of? 

Maybe you’re scared to leave a relationship that you know is unhealthy, because you’re afraid of being alone.  Or maybe you’re afraid to truly commit to that great, supportive partner because you’re afraid he’ll hurt you, like someone in your past. Or maybe you’re afraid he’ll see the “real” you—who you fear you might be. 

Maybe you’re afraid to leave that toxic, unfulfilling job because you don’t want to risk financial insecurity, or you don’t think you’re good enough or talented enough to pursue your dream. 

But, what if we’re all wrong?

What if we are good enough and talented enough and strong enough to have a healthy relationship, a happy family, and a fulfilling career?  What if all we have to do is let go of the fear that is holding us back? 

Ask yourself this: 

What would I do if I wasn’t afraid?

A new social movement based on Sheryl Sandberg’s must read book Lean In is asking women this very question.  And many are finding that the answer is just the motivation they needed to change their lives. 

If you were not afraid, you might leave that toxic relationship, knowing that you deserve better, and that you’ll be okay. 
Maybe you would open your heart to that great guy, because you know you’re worthy of his love. 
Maybe you would realize that the only way to be fulfilled in your career is to do something you’re passionate about, so you would follow your dreams. 
Maybe you’d find your true strength, courage, and joy. And then, just maybe, like the character in What Was I Scared Of?, you’d realize that there was never really anything to be afraid of at all.