It’s a big part of the story, yes, but stay with me because it gets way better. If I were to rewrite it in a new way, I might say “ever-transforming.”
As far back as I can remember, life felt uncomfortable. I was perpetually afraid of something – that I wouldn’t know what to say to the other kids, or I might get a cavity in my front tooth and have a silver splotch in my smile, or (ugh!) that I might continue to feel more and more fear, forever.
For those of you that know anxiety’s schtick, this may sound familiar.
And my goodness it was painful. When folks talk about the freedom and delight of being a child, it's hard for me to relate because childhood was difficult for me. I hadn’t yet learned to walk my walk and enlist some of the magic that I’ll share here.
What I understand now is that the fear actually wanted something good for me. Simply said, it wanted me - and ultimately prompted me - to step out of my discomfort and into the blissful ease that I felt during times when I was alone, lost in my thoughts, dreaming and fantasizing about what it would be like to feel brave and wonderful, adored, confident and willing to show my talents.
It turns out this is the very stuff of creating new vision. It’s allowing ourselves to feel what we would like to feel by picturing a life that we would like to live.
Experiencing this stark contrast instilled in me a habit, though hard fought at times, of making shifts in order to ease my fear, of trying different ways to come out of my shell, and having this once-rudimentary pattern evolve throughout my life so that I could be more effective and efficient in making desired changes while having the process feel ever more easeful.
So much gets embedded into our neural pathways in childhood that sets us up for continued challenge as we grow up. But this is part of the divine plan - what it is we’ve come here to learn as individuals, each one of us in our unique fashion. So in this way I can feel deep gratitude for fear when it rises up in me, because now I know there is something new and magnificent waiting to show itself.
Does it still feel uncomfortable?
Well, yeah. It’s fear.
Truth be told, it’s a pain in the ass sometimes. But not exquisitely threatening, the way it has felt in the past.
There’s the sense now of seeing through fear’s rough exterior and into a brighter future if I really squint my eyes and turn my head 40° clockwise. In other words, fear calls upon me to be creative, and ultimately masterful.
Mastery is a dangling carrot that never really goes away, but the beauty is that it lets me know there’s always more to look forward to.
It teaches me to feel excited, inspired and hopeful.
So there's the full equation: Fear ultimately teaches me to be excited, inspired and hopeful.
So, who am I?
I am an excited, inspired and hopeful person. It’s very nice to meet you.