FEAR: Living without regrets

stock36Fear, it is one of the number one causes for unhappiness, living a limited life and being boxed in, however, I believe it can be used to fuel freedom in your life and stretch you beyond what you ever thought you could be, do, and experience.

Usually fear comes from a bad experience, a bad decision, bad advice or not being confident in our own abilities or knowledge. Which really tells us that fear is based upon perception alone and that by grasping onto reality and truth we are able to break through its limiting grasp.

I remember being at Disneyland and taking the haunted house ride with a friend of mine. It was amazing to me how real the ghosts looked but they were all smoke, mirrors, lights and illusion. But before our very eyes you had a ghost sitting next to you or right in front of you. It looked real, it felt real and by all logic you could say it was real…but it was all a perception that was based on illusion.

Most people when considering a major decision in their life that involves risk whether it is a career change, relationship change, fitness change or new adventure of any kind will assess the situation and feel some amount of fear. But the difference between those who actually break through into a new life that is successful and beyond what they thought possible are those that consider the consequences if they don’t take the leap. When they begin to look at “what if I don’t make this change, what if I don’t try” and that fear becomes greater than what they think they see - suddenly courage begins to rise up. They also recognize that their perception is just that, a perception that can equally be false evidence appearing real.

For example, if you are considering a career change because you are unhappy, what would happen if you never make a change and stay where you are miserable the rest of your life? What happens when you’re on your death bed and you ask yourself “what if I had….”? The fear of living an unfulfilled, unhappy life full of regret then is bigger than taking a chance.

This can be applied to every area of our lives that we choose fear over making a better reality for ourselves. Sure there are guidelines to think about when considering change, is it good, is it better, would it produce more of what is good in your life? Is it the right decision etc.  But most people are not struggling between right and wrong but -  fear alone and then they never even attempt to make a change.

I also think that one of the most liberating things in life can be to learn to trust ourselves in making right decisions by learning from our past. Many years ago I had a relationship coach that talked to me about “walls” I had built in my life in the area of relationships because I was trying to protect myself from what I had experienced in the past. I remember after writing a long list of “red flags” down on paper I knew from experience I was asked if I felt I could identify someone with those red flags if I ran into them again. I replied, “Absolutely!” Then I was told, “See by keeping everyone out you keep all the good out, but by filtering relationships through this list you can make a good decision.” I was empowered at that point in my life because not only was I able to take down my walls and let people in, but I was able to identify walls in others; which honestly saves you a lot of time.

We can so let the fear of rejection in business, relationships, not succeeding at something define us but nobody respects someone who plays it safe, that never has an opinion and doesn’t live a life of freedom that says, “Who cares if I fail, get rejected or don’t succeed at something, I am still amazing.” Choose in life what you will accept and what you won’t and that in of itself will launch you farther than you imagined.

My point in sharing this experience is to demonstrate how easy it is for us to have bad experiences and then apply it to all areas, people, and circumstances out of fear without even realizing it. But when we begin to learn to trust our ability to make right decisions, that we can learn from our mistakes and face the fear of “what if I stay inside this brick castle I have built with my career, relationships, health etc.” and that fear of staying where you are becomes even more fearful you begin to make healthy changes to change.

The pain of being alone when you don’t want to be, the pain of staying in a career you hate, the pain of being out of shape when you would give anything to be fit, the pain of never trying to achieve your dreams,  the pain of regret is one that so many take to their graves. The pain of never trying is worse than trying and failing.

Don’t allow it to be something that controls you, in the name of “trying to make the right decision”.  I can tell you from experience that if you are trying to make the right decision even if you fail you will learn and failure that is digested and learned from is not failure but can be great success and empowerment! In fact, I really believe if we never made mistakes we would never learn.

When I was younger I had the worst fear of making the wrong decisions until I actually made some really wrong decisions and I realized how much I learned. That sort of education cannot be replaced because it is forged into who you are. Risk is always present when we live in faith for a better future, but a life of safety in a rock solid castle of regret that looks like a coffin is never the answer.

If this blog speaks to you at all today I encourage you to ask yourself, “What happens if you choose not to take a chance?” Be afraid of not taking a chance…because if you don’t take a chance you will never know what could have been.

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