Fear Factor

For a long time, I made most of my decisions out of fear. Fear of disappointing other people. Fear of disappointing myself. Fear of angering people. Fear of facing rejection. Fear of not knowing what the outcome might be. To the outside world, I may have talked a big game, but deep down I always played it safe. I hedged my dreams and subconsciously, I kept my voice and myself very small.

And then, somewhere along the way, perhaps in a meditation class or the opening talk of a yoga class, I heard someone say, “Stop making decisions based on fear.” This idea immediately resonated with me. But, like all deep-seeded behaviors, this one took a long time for me to uproot and replace.

Of course, just like any habit, working on it is a lifelong process. But the thing that really changed for me is that whenever I have a big decision to make or my entire body is buzzing with an idea to do something but I want to hit the brakes, I ask myself, “Am I basing my decision on what to do based on fear or based on possibility?”

Fear or Possibility. Those are really the choices.

Like recently, I posted a video about my experience with narcissistic abuse. There is, of course, a version of me that said, “Don’t do it. Your family will see it and what will they think and say?” And then I realized how many people might relate to my experience but feel stiffled in expressing anything on the topic. And so I shared it and the response was overwhelming!

Or how about a few months ago, I was feeling deeply unhappy working as a yoga teacher under a particular company. Though I loved the weekly class and the students, every dealing outside the classroom was like pulling teeth. For a long time I held on to this work situation in part because of my love for the students, but really because I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to easily fill that gap in my employment. How wrong I was! When I opened up myself to possibility, and let go of teaching that class, I immediately (like the very next week) was able to fill it with a client.

Of course I’m not saying that there aren’t very legitimate fears to consider. But not every single one of our fears is realistic or even that important. I’ll leave it to you to figure out which ones are the ones really worth considering and which can be left by the wayside. The point is, it’s a tremendously liberating thing to ask yourself if you’re foregoing a hugely positive possibility because of fear, and to what degree you want that fear to dictate your actions. Someone planted that seed in me long ago and as it grew, it cracked me wide open. Now I hope to do the same for you.

Alignment-based Yoga is BS

Worry Wart