The Payoff for Being Afraid

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photo by Mike Maxwell

“Adventure is not outside [wo]man; it is within.” ― George Eliot
(photo by Mike Maxwell)

Recently a friend asked me what the payoff is for my “Shame Shit Storms.”

This is a painful and somewhat embarrassing question to answer.

Here’s what I came up with . . . My shame allows me to:

  • stay safely in my comfort zone, which allows me to
  • avoid being seen, which allows me to
  • escape being hurt.

Looking at this list makes me uncomfortable. How can it be? I like seeing myself as a strong and capable woman, not a fragile and frightened little girl!

But in my heart I know staying in my comfort zone means I don’t have to take a stand — for myself, for others, for love. If I’m shamed back into my little corner, I can bypass doing my inner work. I can give in unchallenged to my defeating beliefs that I am lazy and worthless. That I am broken beyond repair.

Ultimately, I can avoid taking responsibility for myself and my life.

Which is pretty fucking ironic considering I am the FOUNDER of the Church of Personal RESPONSIBILITY!

Your Turn

I know I’m not alone in this.

What painful habit do you engage in? How does it allow you to stay “small, stuck and safe,” as fear expert Rhonda Britten likes to say.

Although difficult to ponder, these are worthwhile questions to ask yourself, for only you are responsible for your behavior. Believe me, I get how easy it is to blame others or circumstances. Repeat after me:

I AM A BIG GIRL/BOY NOW!

There’s a chance you don’t want to change your behavior because you’d lose the payoff. I get that, too. It’s counterintuitive, and at first you might resist. But the truth remains – we engage in self-sabotaging behavior because it keeps us safe.

One day, though, you’ll wake up and discover being small and quiet and “safe” no longer feels good or right or even tolerable. It no longer serves you, even if it did when you were younger. Now you’re ready for a change. And yes, you’ll be terrified.

And yet, you’ll know it’s time.

Shine On

Just think how bright the world will be as more and more of us step out of our self-made shadows and shine!

Yes, there will be detractors. Naysayers. Ridiculers. Fuck ‘em. They’re just afraid of their own light, and attempt to dim yours so they don’t have to take responsibility for theirs.

That’s the beauty of this process. Our shining bright automatically shines the light for others.

Start by doing it for yourself. I am, and you can too.

Then . . . let’s do it for the world!

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