When folks think about being fearless it usually conjures up images of mountain climbers on Everest, skydivers jumping from planes, and race car drivers on the Nascar circuit. Most people today believe I could never do this. The fact of the matter is that.
Every man who scaled Everest, jumped from a plane or raced around a track at 200 mph was scared to death! They were placing their lives on the line and there was no guarantee that they would return alive. The difference between us and them is simple. They confronted the fear and did not let it overwhelm their need for experience, their need to go beyond their normal comfort zone.
In my role as coach to midlife women, I’m constantly surprised by the number of women undervalue the quantity of courage required to live. One of my customers had a child was very sick, she nursed him through the worst portion of it, and proceeded to perform her job at which the expectation was that no matter what, she needed to be in on time and do her job. She did it because they had the money to cover the doctor bills.
She felt there was no choice. How many girls take their epic journeys and say”what else can I do?” Or, “Who else was going to do it?” As girls, we underplay our strengths and shrug it off as a trade-off. For what? We carry the load. Men may feel they’re out there producing the wealth, but now that is no longer the reality. More women than ever are in the workforce AND still doing all the other things they did before. Who has the tougher job? In my opinion there’s absolutely not any contest.
Women have expectations about doing it all. We work, we take care of the kids, we cook, we clean and we run all the errands. When the children are sick, our spouse is having troubles at work, we cultivate them and we continue to run until we run on empty. We get tired, depressed, angry and anxious. And we wonder why it has to be like that. Along the way, we lost the enthusiasm for living. When we were little girls we dreamed of what we would be when we were growing up.
We played at being teachers, nurses, physicians, attorneys and mommies. We travelled the world on the wall maps and listened to the music and thought about becoming a rock star. We pushed the doubts away and went to school sure that we could do anything, and then the dream began to fizzle. We did well in school, or did not, we found work that fulfilled, or did not, and we married happily, or did not. And bit by bit, the fantasy that said you can do anything was slowly taken over by necessities.
Let’s understand it
Money to cover the rent, kids who needed special attention, husbands who were not home because their occupation took them away for days on end. We found ourselves taking care of the everyday grind and slowly, ever so slowly, the desire and enthusiasm for something different, for something more, dwindled to a whisper.
We’re happy when we are with our loved ones. Our children give us tremendous pleasure (and pain); and our relationships through the years have deepened into friendships which are the backbone of our presence. But something is missing and we can not quite put our finger on it. When we reach our forties, we begin to feel the dreams we once had are no longer possible. What is it that stands in our way from living the life we used to think was possible? I feel it’s Fear. We are living in a fear based world.
Our civilization breeds it at the daily dose of terror news. We’re constantly bombarded by what is good for our health. People die from eating the wrong things. The most recent was spinach. People die from being in the wrong place at the wrong moment. We are living in a world without appropriate health care and we dismiss states in the rest of the world because we’ve got enough problems of our own at home.
Is it any wonder we do not need to handle our own fears? Better the devil we know than the one we do not. I was forty-three years old and I was in a relationship for thirteen years. We had three children, including his daughter from another marriage. It wasn’t the easiest connection to maintain since we were both strong-willed and obstinate men and women. We fought on a regular basis but discovered mutual floor from the love our kids. On one occasion, our fighting reached a crescendo and I was ready to leave.
As usual, it was all his fault. He’d made my life hopeless with his requirements, his thoughtlessness and his constant need for care. I’d had enough. In the middle of our yelling at each other he cried “You made the choices, not me.” It stopped me in my tracks. The words stuck into my mind and resonated for hours later. I hated to admit it, but he was correct.
It had been my decision to take less than I wanted, to give more than I wished to, to put myself in a secondary place so that I cared for everybody else’s needs first. I was not even sure I knew exactly what it was I had at that moment, but I knew something. I was afraid to take responsibility for my own psychological happiness. We keep ourselves in a state of dread! All of us make choices.
Some good, some bad, but they are options. I didn’t realize that for a lengthy time and wanted to blame’over there’ for the majority of the unhappiness in my life. Most of us have to make decisions. Sometimes these decisions may look like there’s absolutely no choice, but there always is. Now all this may sound as if you have heard it all before. You have. But the sad state of affairs is that most girls do not take time for their particular needs and make excuses for why they won’t move ahead into a life of fulfilment.
All of us have choices and if we do not choose the things which make us feel good, that inspire us to get out of bed every day, and celebrate the life we live, we have just one person to blame. Living the Fearless life isn’t a choice. Living the Fearless life means confronting the fears that stop you in your tracks, that make you make excuses about why you can not do something, or refuse to make the changes which will mean feeling more fulfilled and happier with your life.
Think about this. In 2006, it’s anticipated that women in their fifties will live until they’re in their own mid-eighties if their health is great. That’s thirty years of living! You may have another forty or more. How exciting is that. Isn’t it about time you gave yourself exactly what you require? What you want? What’s going to make you happy? If you do not know what that is, seek out help to unearth the part of you that has been buried in the landslide called living the unfulfilled life.
Stop making excuses for not taking action. I know it’s hard. I know there are a million reasons why you can not care for yourself. There are as many explanations as there are stars in the sky, but you do not need to wait till they burn out. That will take millions of years and you do not have that long. Thirty years is a long time to do something you do not want. Thirty years is another life of putting your own needs first and creating the life you want to call home. At the start of this report, I used the examples of Everest and skydiving.
Facing our fears doesn’t need to be so monumental. But we do need to face up to our fears each daily. It’s in the thousand details of our everyday lives. The decisions we take in our jobs, our families and in our personal care. My challenge to you is simple. Live the Fearless Life by confronting the anxieties every day. Life isn’t about being Fearless, it is about confronting the fears and doing what makes us uneasy. This is my first post. I put off writing it. Now that I’ve completed the outline, I have something to work with and I’ll improve.
My fear is getting up and saying to you that you can accomplish this. I’m an expert on Fear. I’ve lived with it in the first aspect of my life. But I’ve refused to give into it. I was nine years old, living in an old Scottish tenement building that was constructed during the reign of Mary Queen of Scots. It was haunted or I had an overly active imagination. One night I woke up to find a tall dark figure standing by the side of my bed. It seemed huge and I couldn’t make out any discerning capabilities. It didn’t move and neither did I.
I looked at it for a couple of minutes waiting for it to do something before I finally closed my eyes and fell asleep once again. In the morning I asked everyone in our building when they’d come to my bed the night before but nobody did. To this day, I’m convinced that it was FEAR that came to see. I lived with an abusive, alcoholic father and every day was spent in dread of doing something wrong. We manifest what we all dread. It took me a long time, but finally I knew that living life fearlessly wasn’t living a life without stress, but about confronting the anxieties, the anxieties and the dread that comes with taking opportunities. You owe it to yourself to take the opportunity.