The other night, a friend jokingly told me that I was so awesome, it was hard to believe I was still single.
I laughed and responded that it’s only because I choose to be.
But that’s a lie.
The fact of the matter is, I’ve chosen to be completely closed to any thought of ever putting myself out there. One, because I’m terrified of being hurt and two, I’m not sure I can ever trust again.
A few years ago, with a great desire to move my life forward, I took an intense three-month course on “forgiveness” and while I set out with the full intention of forgiving my ex husband and ex best friend for everything they’d put me through, in the end, it was actually ME that I needed to forgive.
One would think that forgiveness alone would open me up to moving on. However, on reflection, I think I’ve completely rejected any thought of being in a relationship by focusing 100% on my children and work…making it impossible to have any time for anything else. I’ve pushed myself into a comfort zone of being “busy.” It’s worked for me…it’s protected me…and in this case I’m not entirely convinced that it was the wrong thing to do…but I’m also not convinced it was right.
FEAR has held me back in both my professional and personal life. While that might surprise quite a few as I’m rather “out there” on social media and with my blog…the reality is, I’ve always been rather good at faking it.
I am, for the majority of the time, uncomfortable in my own skin.
This year, I was hired to work as a brand ambassador for a company and one of the requirements was to do two television appearances. The first appearance was a Back-to-School segment on our local station and I spent much of my summer absolutely uncomfortable and stressed over that 4 minute segment. I lost numerous nights of sleep trying to come up with one excuse after another as to how I’d possibly get out of doing the broadcast that in the end…really wasn’t a big deal at all! I told NO ONE I was doing it except for a small blogging group of friends who were incredibly supportive…but the thought of anyone I knew actually tuning in to watch me was HORRIFYING! A few months later, I did a Holiday segment and while it was far less scary and I didn’t lose sleep over it, I still didn’t really tell anyone it was happening. When it was over and turned out ok, I posted it for folks to see and the response was mostly positive. To be honest, I was rather proud of myself and wanted to share my success with others.
While a few more TV appearances are on the horizon, I’ve also wanted to do a bit of public speaking about blogging and my life. However, once again, FEAR holds me back. I was invited to speak at 4 different events this year. Two of them I could easily decline as I was out of town…but for one, I totally made up a fake excuse why I couldn’t attend and then felt absolutely horrible about it! When I was asked to speak at BlogJam, I couldn’t see any way out so after much deliberation, I went ahead and agreed to hold a session and based on the people who came up to me to thank me and connect with me…it wasn’t too bad!
Fear often holds me back from being who I really am…who I really want to be…but on the flip-side, it also protects me from the things that make me most uncomfortable.
Being judged, ridiculed, ignored, rejected, belittled, criticized, discredited and mocked.
Just walking into a room full of people I don’t know freaks me out. Walking into a room full of people I DO know freaks me out! My High School reunion nearly brought on a panic attack, going to a networking event is a huge ordeal, showing up to a party I’m invited to becomes an issue at the last moment…and yet, when I get there, I’m fine. I meet people, I talk, I make connections…getting there is the biggest problem! But sitting home…feels so much worse!
No one would have any idea that my fear of failure, making a fool of myself or making mistakes…holds me back. What most people see is a confident, strong, out-going woman but one small thing can shatter my fake confidence and send me in a tailspin. One negative comment has me over-thinking. One odd look has me feeling judged.
Last February, one incident knocked my confidence so far back that my head was spinning for weeks before I could feel grounded and safe again.
I’m continually working on becoming my “true self” and for 2017, I’ve chosen a “Guiding Word” to help me. I’m done with making New Year’s resolutions that include putting myself out there, losing weight (because that’s my biggest excuse for not doing things), not bailing when I’m invited places, going after what I want and meeting new people…because I fail. Time and time again I break every resolution I make.
Instead, I’ve chosen a Guiding Word because the fact of the matter is simple…I can’t fail at a “word” but I can use it to help lead me through the year with everything I do. Whether it’s personal or professional, this one word is my reminder to have faith in myself…to set aside my fears and try new things.
For 2017, I’ve chosen the word COURAGE.
Courage to open myself to new experiences…to be braver and bolder than ever before.
It’s time to break down the barriers, stop making excuses and stop hiding behind my fears.
2016 was a great year professionally. I’ve all the skills I need to chase my dreams and make them a reality. I’ve a life to lead that’s vibrant and full of energy…surrounded by amazing people and so much love.
With a little more COURAGE, 2017 is bound to be pretty amazing.
Because you get in life, what you have the courage to ask for.
And I’m about to ask for everything I most desire!