Everyone does it which means everyone is subject to it. This was a paralyzing fear I had/have. When I was much younger I would do whatever made me happy and was fun. I was also 10. Then I got to middle school.
Maybe I never got the memo that I was supposed to categorize myself and make a decision whether I was going to be a rapper, rocker, or poser. These were my options in the 90’s. I never wanted to choose and spent most of my 6th grade year and beyond walking a fine line between being accepted or an outcast.
That’s all fine and dandy but that attitude carried me into adulthood and took on an even tighter grip. It paralyzed me from being able to make decisions, let alone follow my dreams. I didn’t want to upset anyone so I would spend so much time trying to please everyone that I left very very little for myself. What sorts of things would I think?
- I can’t say no because that person will think I’m rude even though I’m stretched to my limit but I don’t want them to think that I don’t care. If I ever have to ask for their help they’ll remember I said no and not want to help me.
- I can’t ask for a raise or promotion because my boss will think I’m greedy and probably think I’m a bad employee. When it comes time for my next evaluation they’ll remember and hold it against me.
- I can’t ask for alone time because I work two jobs and see my family so little that giving any of that precious time up is being selfish. When they grow up they’ll remember how selfish I was and they won’t love me.
- I can’t wear this outfit or share this picture because I look so gross. They might comment and point out to everyone else how terrible I look.
- I can’t start a blog that features my own thoughts and pictures because people will think I’m conceited and a know-it-all. When I stumble or make a mistake they won’t believe in my goal and my project will fail.
In every single example and more the theme is ALWAYS the same.I worried so much about the other person and my actions coming back to me in a negative way that I stopped myself from doing what was best for me. I didn’t want to take that risk. It is normal to be afraid. Fear saves us. It forces to look at the full ramifications of our decisions. Empathy allows us to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and see an entirely different perspective. However, when you put the two together it can be catastrophic.
It seems to me that my life stood still for almost a decade. While time passed and life was happening all around me, I was merely existing. Too afraid to be myself and risk being judged and ultimately rejected. I lived for everyone else. Until one day I made the decision to say no. Then I asked for a raise. I took time for myself. Then I put on and took a picture of myself in bikini. I made it a public goal of mine to help other. You know what happened? Everything has changed.
Do I still worry about what other’s think? Yes. That will never change. What did change was my ability to value myself just as much if not more than the person I am concerning myself about. I had to journey deep and challenge my thoughts and actions so when I was judged I would know with my whole heart what my intentions were.
My 10 year old self never worried because she was too busy being herself to notice if anyone was judging her and that’s the me I am reclaiming.
I have said yes and no to the wrong things, taken big risks, and will continue to do so my entire life but this time I am being an active participant. New things excite me more than they scare me. Having the guts to take a tiny step took me years. So, if you’re wrestling with a fear and now fear it has been to long to overcome don’t believe it. You might have to come up with a new game plan but that’s what makes us so amazing.
Learning from my past gives meaning to my mistakes and turns them into lessons for my future.
YOUTUBE BONUS VIDEO:
I actually filmed this a while back for a group of Body Positive Warriors but I thought it was cool and so here it is! You can also check out the rest of my Body Positive Lessons at: PowerToPrevail Channel
We have a new fur baby in the house! We found him cold, wet, muddy, and flea infested outside of our apartment and he has been a hilarious edition to our crazy little home