Due to the interest in my post of purging emotional clutter, I thought I would write about steps I’ve taken on this journey, each Monday, until I run out of things to say about it!
There is one piece of emotional clutter that you have to start purging today. You won’t finish today. You probably won’t finish in your lifetime. But this emotion is something that you have to start getting under control. Today.
This piece of emotional clutter is the piece that allows people to be manipulated into doing things and agreeing with things they never imagined they would support. It’s the piece that allows discrimination, and the piece that leads to hate crimes. It’s the piece that allows for unspeakable evil, but it’s also the piece that keeps people in miserable situations, leading to lives of mediocrity, simple following the script, and never standing out.
Today, you’re going to start decluttering fear from your mind.
Not so long ago, I thought I was fearless. I held the course of 300, while piloting a sinking ship for 6 hours. I held the tiller, useless, when the engine failed en route to South Manitou island, telling Rob through gritted teeth to keep working, that we weren’t going to die that day.
True, I had physical courage, while at the helm of Moonraker. But, otherwise, I didn’t realize that I was completely paralyzed by fear.
I would purge possessions, but it was fear that kept me living in my house in the suburbs, following the script.
I strove to build community, but it was fear that kept me from allowing anyone to get too close.
I posted daily blog posts, but it was fear that kept me from doing anything further with my writing.
I dreamt of a life of freedom, but it was fear that kept me clinging to the illusion of “security” in my current situation.
Fear prevents growth. It keeps us from changing, from improving. From taking risks. From seeing, realizing, and accepting the potential for greatness that is in all of us.
In my case, the conversation began with two conversations, with two different friends. One asserted that I already was a writer, because I write, so I had nothing to lose by taking the chance to do more with it. The other said that I was the kind of person who could bring about real change to the world, and that what I did mattered.
It was in my strong resistance to both of these compliments, that I realized the depth of my fears.
If I tried to do anything other than self-publishing, I could be rejected.
If I took a risk and tried to bring about positive change, I could fail.
If I allowed anyone to think highly of me, I would be hurt when they saw the “real” me, and changed their mind.
If I let anyone get close enough to see the “real” me, I would be rejected, abandoned.
So fear kept me in mediocrity. It kept me from fully pursuing my passions. It kept me from being as great as I could be (and I can say that I can be great, because EVERYBODY can be, including you). It kept me from loving and accepting love. It left me holding everyone at arm’s length.
But, if I am writing this, you can assume that I am no longer imprisoned by my fears, as I was before. So what led to the change?
It was a slow process, over the winter. It was the realization that I simply could not survive any longer, with such strong walls around myself. The realization that we’re not meant to go it alone—that each family exists within an incredible village, outside of our immediate physical location. It was the realization that, just because bad things happened in the past, they weren’t destined to repeat in the future.
It was seeing that the risks of living in fear were greater than the things that I actually feared.
It’s a matter of realizing that it’s all in your head. Your only opponent is your mind.
Because, what’s the worst thing that can happen?
If I trust someone, they could stab me in the back. That hurts a lot less than spending a lifetime pushing everyone away.
If I deviate from the script, people could talk about me behind my back. So what?
If I leave a “secure” situation, I could fail. But we won’t starve. And we’ll live a lot longer with the risk, than we will living in a mediocre situation in which we are not happy.
If I send my writing to be published, I could get a rejection letter. Then I’m just back where I started, ready to try again.
So, look this demon, this emotional clutter, in the eye. Tell it to take a hike, that you’re going to live your dreams ANYWAY.
Because there really is nothing to be afraid of.