Saturday, August 11, 2007

After Being Safe

We all want to be safe. And if we get there, we want to stay there—especially if safety has been in short supply in the past! The problem is that if we try to stay too safe, we lose out on possibilities and we fail to grow. In the long run, that can lead to not being as safe as we’d like to be.

What can we do? Well, each day we can choose to do one thing—no matter how small—that is new or different for us. Or we can take one step—no matter how small—toward dealing with something that scares us. We can choose to ride out the fear long enough to expand our comfort zone.

Note: I am talking about doing things that will enhance the quality of our lives NOT taking crazy or self-destructive chances!

Some of the things that scared me the most (in no particular order)—filing for divorce, going off to college, traveling across country by myself and not knowing where I would end up, getting married in the first place, raising children, getting therapy, buying a house on my own after age 50, getting up and giving workshops in front of lots of people—have turned out to enrich my life the most, even when they didn’t work out forever.

I didn’t take any of these steps lightly! I did my research, I made careful plans, I used due caution, and I took the leap of faith even when people around me thought I might be crazy. I don’t regret any of the things I dared to do—even when they didn’t work out. Nor do I regret the little things that scare me that I’ve chosen to do anyway.

Part of it, of course, comes down to sheer stubbornness. I feel as if I lost way too many years of my life to abuse and then to trying to live with that abuse before I found a way to process and then let it go. Too many people (bullies) in my life tried to make me believe I was foolish to even try to go after my dreams or do the things that mattered to me or even dare to hope that anyone would ever want to know or like me!

These days I want to catch up and truly LIVE and get to do the things I didn’t do before. Not rashly because I doubt I’ll ever be able to let go of the cautious streak that is so much a part of me but with open eyes and using all the skills I can muster to succeed—or at least keep from getting hurt too badly.

It’s great to feel safe. It’s also great to choose to keep on changing and growing and daring to do the things that matter to us or can enrich our lives. That’s one thing I won’t let anyone ever take from me again.

Wishing all of you a little wonderful adventure and daring in your lives and sending blessings and safe and gentle (((((((hugs)))))))),

April_optimist

5 comments:

Karma said...

Nice post. I think the biggest fear for me is often around connecting to people - I fear that they'll hurt me, that they'll not want me around, etc., and so I tend to put too much into the few people that I feel safe with instead of exploring connecting with lots of people and working on overcoming my fears. This might be my next thing to work on!

keepers said...

trying to feel safe is very difficult at times, especially for the littles. what is irritating is things can be going along swimmingly well and then something happens to frighten everyone all over again and then we are back to "that place" and have to work our way back again.

thanks for the post

peace and blessings

keepers

April_optimist said...

Karma, The odd thing is that if we act as if we expect people to like us and want to know us, they are far more likely to do so. People take their cues about us from us. Take that leap of faith. Walk into a room and ask yourself: What new friends will I meet today? Go up to someone you don't know and ask them questions about themselves. You might be very surprised at what happens.

Keepers, I know it's hard to feel safe. The good thing is that when we take action (rather than waiting for things to happen) we are more likely to feel safe because to some degree we are in control. When we take action and do new things, we gain experience and knowledge about new places and new activities and that expands our comfort zone because now we know what something will be like and we know we can do it or at least what challenges we will face in that situation. Believe in yourself! You can do so much more than you realize! And you CAN protect and take care of all your selves NOW--even if it sometimes doesn't feel that way.

Marj aka Thriver said...

i've been reading your last few posts and find them quite valuable. Hope you put some in the blog carnivals coming up and spread the information some more!

April_optimist said...

I will, Marj. Thanks for the reminder!