Feeling the Fear and Doing it Anyway
Have you ever really wanted to do something but fear has got in the way? Perhaps you wanted to audition for a play, take an art class or trial for a sports team? You know you really do want to do this thing, you think you are capable of it. But your lack of confidence blocks you with thoughts such as what if I can’t do it, what if I’m not good enough? and you just can’t risk taking the leap. In other words you don’t show up for yourself and you don’t let yourself be seen.
I’d like to share with you an example of my own. A few years ago, I began to have thoughts about adding a blog to my website directly addressing you, my reader, so that I could offer a direct connection to my readership.
Since childhood, I have written throughout my life. Words are very much ‘my thing.’ I have written academic and professional pieces, fiction, meditation scripts and have even been invited to be a guest blogger on other sites. Despite receiving positive, warming feedback on these endeavours, the blog on my site never materialised.
I would tell myself you can’t have a blog with just one post. It doesn’t look good. You need at least half a dozen posts before you can direct people to your blog. I would say I don’t have time to do all that writing in one go but I will find it. One day. When I’m not quite so busy. Eventually. But deep down I knew that I was not being completely honest with myself. That the real reason I kept delaying was simple. I was scared. Scared of being seen in this way.
Letting Ourselves Be Seen
Putting ourselves out there, letting our voice be heard can a daunting process. Even when we are encouraged by many others to share what we have, to let our light shine, there is something about exposing ourselves that can be too scary. Perhaps culturally in this country we are even less skilled at it than others. Especially, though by no means exclusively as women. Why are we often so good at praising and supporting others but really quite hopeless at it when it comes to ourselves? Why do we constantly put ourselves down? Perhaps we fear being seen as arrogant or conceited and we tell ourselves that it’s not socially acceptable to big ourselves up. Or perhaps and worse still we really believe the insecure, self critical voice in our head.
In order to be brave, in order to truly develop self belief and confidence, I believe we really have to learn to listen. To hear what matters to us. To pay attention to the small still voice that can so easily get drowned out by the cacophony of demands and fears that take up space in our daily lives.
That is one reason why I love the work I do. Whether it’s via talking therapy, on a Yoga mat or guiding a writing exercise I encourage people to slow down and pay attention. To listen to themselves. To hear beyond the voice of their insecurities and instead pay attention to a quieter more grounded voice. And through that listening, through that paying attention, I try to help people see and accept who they truly are and that absolutely includes owning all the wonderful talents and skills and qualities they possess. So that they can stop letting their insecurities run the show and instead have enough confidence to be bold and commit to what they want to manifest in their lives. And for my own sense of honesty and integrity if I am inviting others to do this, I have to do it myself too.
Taking the Leap
In my case the world of online communication seemed (and still does seem) quite terrifying. I have told myself there are so many other excellent blogs out there already about Yoga, mental health and wellbeing. Who would want to listen to my voice? And with that thought, in one fell swoop I have immediately fallen into the comparison trap leading to my own sense of inadequacy and my experience of impostor syndrome.
So what have I done with that? How come I am writing this now? Well I did what I often do in situations of challenge. I tuned inwards and I paid attention. To myself. To my fears and to my desires. Following the advice of Susan Jeffers in her wonderful book Feel the Fear and do it Anyway I began to invite the fear in and get to know it.
Let Your Light Shine
And here is what I found. That for me, it is scary to be open and honest about myself and let my words be seen online by people I don’t know and will probably never meet. What if they are critical or derisory about me? What if they think my post is rubbish? What if I am just not good enough to be ‘a blogger’? And that’s when the idea for this particular post arose. Write about this my inner voice said. Write about your fear and share it with others. Because perhaps they feel a similar fear too sometimes. Let this be your first post.
So here I am finally taking the plunge. Today with you. Welcome to the first blog post on my website. Whether my words resonate with you or not, I have finally listened deeply enough to share them. And I hope and trust that perhaps they may in some way land with you and even inspire you too to stop, slow down and listen to your heartsong. To be brave and let your light shine.