“Oh, I couldn’t do that,” the woman said to me as I was explaining how I had changed out a defective light fixture by myself. Far too often I, myself, say things like that when I encounter anything that is outside of my comfort zone. “I can’t do that.” “It’s too hard/scary/intimidating.” “I wouldn’t know how.” Words of fear. Words that hold us back from stretching and growing, from discovering just what we are capable of. Fear ties us down, binds us in heavy chains and brings progress to a standstill. I’ve been thinking lately, wouldn’t it be nice just to let go of fear and be free?
What is fear anyway? Most of the time—unless we are in immediate danger of being eaten by a bear or something equally hideous—fear is just a story we tell ourselves. It is about what might happen, not what is happening. We fill our minds with scary stories of disaster. “I might do it wrong.” “I might make someone mad at me.” “They might think I’m stupid.” Or worst of all, “I might fail.” Each might is a link in a “mighty” chain of self-doubt which soon has us stumbling back to our corners where we are safe and sound and…stuck.
Each one of us is a being with unlimited potential. As such, what do we have to fear (besides the bear)? So we may fail. Will the world end? So we may appear foolish or make someone mad. That is an inevitable part of being human. And we can never control what others think of us anyway.
I recently read an account of some aboriginal people who teach their children that whenever a negative or fearful thought comes into their mind they should immediately say, “That story doesn’t have to be true.” By so doing, they believe they will prevent that negative thing from manifesting into reality. I like that. Our fearful stories don’t have to be true and our brave, hopeful stories can be as true as we allow them to be. So, change your stories. Rewrite your fear and be free!