Vulnerability: The Hallmark of Living Bravely.
Sometimes the right choice is the thing we fear the most.
Avoiding unhappiness isn’t the route to happiness.
The right thing will often require us to move outside of our comfort zone.
Often we make choices out of fear. We think we’re keeping ourselves safe by choosing the safe option, but sometimes we’re actually closing ourselves off from life and from true joy.
We try to protect ourselves, which can be helpful and is a natural instinct. But when is this a good thing and when does it go too far?
Sometimes we try so hard to protect ourselves that we end up causing ourselves more harm.
How can we find balance between creating security and taking care of ourselves in helpful ways, and keeping ourselves small? How can we reduce the risk, so we can follow our dreams without leaving ourselves wide open for loss and pain?
The truth is, we will always be vulnerable when we go for what we really want, when we take a chance.
But isn’t that the hallmark of living bravely?
Fear is an essential emotion. We need it for our survival and wouldn’t last long without it. But the fear response has become heightened in many of us, and we’ve become used to making choices from a place of fear. This can be immobilizing.
There are two driving forces behind any decisions we make: love and fear.
Are you taking a job because you fear a better one won’t come along, or because you’re passionate about the work?
Are you getting married because you’re getting older and you don’t want to be alone, or because you’ve found someone whom you truly love, whom you feel worthy and deserving of?
When we make choices based on fear, we lose ourselves and end up living lives that aren’t our own.
We fear failure, and we fear disappointing others or not living up to their expectations.
We need to look at whether we’re living from the heart and expressing our truth, acting from love, or whether we’re stuck in our minds, with fear in the driving seat.
Are we trying to fit in and please others? Fear. Or are we following joy? Love.
What decisions have you made in your life out of fear? And how have they worked out?
We live in a fear-based world, so it can be hard to break this cycle.
But it is possible. Shining the light of awareness of our fear-based decisions will help us make different choices.
Fearful choices drain us, whereas love energizes us.
What would you do if you weren’t scared, and if you totally loved yourself?
Look for the most loving thing you can do for yourself in any situation. Learn to rely on yourself in this way. Do you need better boundaries? Do you actually need to protect yourself a bit more and to stand your ground? Or are you protecting yourself too much and limiting the joy that could come from taking a chance?
Feel into when you need to provide yourself with greater protection, and when you need to cut loose and follow what feels like freedom or fun.
What makes you feel contracted and smaller? And what makes you feel open and more expansive? What gives you more room to breathe?
Sometimes the most loving choice will be to protect yourself more. But let this come from a place of love, not fear.
Whatever choices you do make, surround yourself with people who support them, and remember to think about the things that could go right, as well as the things that could go wrong.
The way to attain your highest potential is to make your choices from love.
We can still fail when we go the safe route. So take the risk.
What will really matter at the end of our lives is that we followed our passions, our hearts and our truth.
Love will keep you safer than fear ever will.
Kelly Burns is a UK-based writer and mentor specializing in women’s health and the mind-body connection. She writes for both print and online publications, and is the author of the Inner Jewel Weekly blog. In her spare time, you’ll find Kelly with close friends and family, outside in nature, enjoying good food, reading, collecting wisdom, dancing around the house, traveling or on her Yoga mat. You can get in touch with Kelly via her website and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.