Diving at the deep end

“I must not fear. Fear is the mindkiller. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me.”
– Frank Herbert
So often, people have a dream, something they want, something worth striving for, but they are too afraid to try.  They might fail, or be rejected, and hurt, so they decide it is safer to stay where they are, taking no risk.  They choose to be ruled by fear.
In American politics today, fear is a super commodity, dictating everything we do, or don’t do, to run our country.  It is on a scale that is difficult to comprehend, or define.  Fear has become a juggernaut.
I don’t live without fear, I’m neither stupid, nor oblivious.  I am aware of danger of all kinds, but I have made a choice not to let it paralyze or cripple me.  Sometimes I take risks and get hurt, but I live.  I experience my world more fully for leaving my comfort zone.
As a mother, of course I want my children to be safe, and happy, but I can’t protect them from the world.  They have to learn to face fear, take risks, and recover from the hurts.  Telling the person two seats over in math class that you think they are cute – very scary stuff, and while rejection is painful what if they think you’re cute too?  Risk can be rewarded.  Trying out for a play when you aren’t sure of yourself, exposing yourself to criticism by so many people – what if you land a part, and get to join something that lets you grow?
It’s easy to look at those examples and brush them off as petty and childish, but what are the fears that stop you?
Life hurts, life is brutal, and there is no way to keep yourself truly safe.  You will lose people you care about, you may suffer financial reversals, possibly through no fault of your own.  You will be hurt and disappointed by friends and loved ones.  I’m not saying they will viciously turn and betray you, but they are human.  People overlook important dates, they forget things that you’ve said, they have bad days and lash out at whoever is nearby.  And if we care about these people, we are vulnerable, we are open to being hurt.
Some people want the reward, the closeness, the love, but get panicky when they are vulnerable.  Or they put someone on a pedestal thinking “this person loves me and would never cause me pain,” which makes the small mistakes and disappointments feel like betrayal.
So join me at the deep end.  Don’t think, “maybe I could get hurt,” recognize instead, this will hurt, but I can survive it and look at the dreams I’m embarking on!  Remember, if it hurts, you’re still alive, and living is why we are here.  Don’t just swish your toes at the edge, dive in!
For every little personal risk we take, for every fear we face in our personal lives, we grow stronger and more capable of standing up to the monolith of fear.  Every fear you conquer brings confidence in what you can do, and what you can try next.
Go, sample tapenade or sweetbreads, take a walk through a new neighborhood, write a poem, ask for a kiss at the end of a date, change the world by changing yours.
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~ by friendlycurmudgeon on July 25, 2016.

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