September 17, 2015

Thursday Thought

I can't believe it is already Thursday! Where has the week gone? I feel like it was just yesterday that I was sitting down to write last week's Thursday Thought. Crazy!

I think a lot, I mean like a lot! I can be in  room full of people and be quiet as a mouse, but I can promise you that I am thinking about something. For some reason my brain just doesn't like to turn off. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing-- for now though, we will call it a good thing.

I have had so many thoughts this past week that it is hard to pick just one thought to share. Tonight though, I think fear takes the cake.

What is fear? Fear is defined by as "A distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid."

What are you afraid of? Over the course of my lifetime I have been afraid of a lot of different things including: bees, the dark, fish, falling, drowning, certain people, police officers, peanut butter, fire, the unknown, being reprimanded, etc. I know some of the stuff on my list may seem ridiculous, but at some point in my life I was really afraid of it and in some cases I am still afraid.

One day, I realized that fear holds people back. Fear keeps people from living life to its fullest and reaching their true potential. I very much believe that fear is a tactic that Satan uses to keep us from progressing. I also believe that people will try to instill fear in others as a way to gain power or dominion over them-- in my opinion this is wrong.

I have worked really hard the past few years to face my fears. I still have fears, but I learned that a lot of the things I was afraid of aren't that scary or bad after all. Words can't describe how liberating it is to do something hard, scary or dangerous and survive. After facing said fears I often feel empowered. It feels as though a weight has been lifted and like I can take on the world.

Andy had told me on more than once occasion that I am one of the bravest people he knows. I can't say that I don't have any fears, but I do like to face them.

I like to read and I read something by Oprah earlier this year, that was just too good not to share. It's a little long, but is sooo good!

     "What I know for sure is this: Whatever you fear most has no power-it is your fear that has the      power. The thing itself cannot touch you. But the fear can rob you of your life. Each time you give in to it, you lose strength, while your fear gains it. That's why you must decide that no matter how difficult that path ahead seems, you will push past your anxiety and keep on stepping. 

     A few years ago, I was writing this question in my journal ever day: 'What am I afraid of?' Over time I realized that while I had often seemed brave on the outside, I had lived much of my inner life in bondage. I was afraid that others wouldn't like me. I was terrified that if I said no to people, they would reject me. Everything I did, thought, felt, said, or even ate was connected to the fear I carried around with me-and I allowed it to block me from ever knowing who I really was. 

     Dr. Phil often says you can't change what you don't acknowledge. Before I could challenge my fear and begin changing what I believed about myself, I had to admit that, yes, I had always been afraid-and that my fear was a form of slavery. Author Neale Donald Walsch says, 'So long as you're still worried about what others think of you, you are owned by them. Only when you require no approval from outside yourself can you own yourself.

     It's true that when you summon the courage to cast a vote for yourself, when you dare to step out, speak up, change yourself, or even simply do something outside of what others call the norm, the results may not always be pleasant. You can expect obstacles. You'll fall down. Others may call you nutty. At times it may feel like the whole world is rising up to tell you who you cannot become and what you cannot do. (It can upset people when you exceed the limited expectations they've always had for you.)  And in the moments of weakness, your fear and self-doubt may cause you to falter. You may be so exhausted that you want to quit. But the alternatives are even worse: You might find yourself stuck in a miserable rut for years at a time. Or you could spend too many days languishing in regret, always wondering, 'What would my life have been like if I hadn't cared so much about what other people thought?'

     And what if you decided right now that you will stop letting fear block you? What if you learned to live with it, to ride its wave to heights you never knew were possible? You might discover that joy of tuning out what everybody wants for you and finally pay attention to what you need. And learn that, ultimately you have nothing to prove to anyone but yourself. That is what it truly means to live without fear-and to keep reaching for your best life.

Wasn't that great?!? I just love Oprah!

Take some time and think about the things you are afraid of. Why are you afraid? Is your fear holding you back? Why not face it? You'll be amazed how you feel, once you have faced your fear. It may not be easy, but I know you can do it!

Now, get out there and start facing those fears!

Carpe Diem!