I’ve been thinking recently about why I and some of the people I know stop ourselves from doing the things we want to do. And I’m not even referring to life-altering, mountain-moving, miracle-for-one-please types of things. There are so many times that I’ll look at other people and the things they do, whether it’s making YouTube videos, exercising regularly, or expanding their writing repertoires, and I’m just over here watching them, wishing I could do the same.
And for some reason, I tell myself that I can’t. Or that if I try to do those things, I won’t succeed. So why try?
In search of some answers, I turned to some of my favorite quotations. Marianne Williamson sure has something to say about my query in A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principals of a Course in Miracles:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. ”
This is not my way of saying that I won’t make mistakes if I try something new, but where is the harm in believing that I am capable of more than the annoying voice in my head says of me? I began to wonder, though, if my fears really do stem from my own self-denial or if I actually could be afraid of failing. Or maybe it’s a mixture of the two? I had to find out.
This time, I looked to Emily Dickinson. In a certain poem of hers, she offers that
“We never know how high we are / Til we are asked to rise / And then, if we are true to plan, / Our statures touch the skies– / The heroism we recite / Would be a normal thing / Did not ourselves the cubits warp / For fear to be a king–”
Maybe Dickinson is right: it is our own fault for not rising to whatever occasion is before us. We are all our own worst critics, as the saying goes. In our own minds we set a standard that we do not allow ourselves to rise above, and that is a shame.
I agree with both writers that we all have more potential than we dare to think. And this is not a selfish statement, but truth. God created each of us with talent that would bless others and bring glory to Him. Perhaps it’s time we stop refusing to believe the lies that contradict this. Maybe if we start believing in the truth and in ourselves, we might not be so afraid to step into situations that used to scare us.
We might make mistakes; we might even fail a few times, but I would say that not trying at all is the real tragedy. So I’m in if you’re in. Let’s try something new.
I’m not going to pretend that the thought of that doesn’t petrify me. But if fear is the only thing standing in my way, well we’ve all got to face our fears to overcome them. To realize that failure isn’t the worst outcome is comforting in its own way. And maybe being free from our fears is the real miracle after all? Tell me what you think, and thank you for reading.
May all be well.