Today I want to talk about Fear. About how all too often we allow our fear of how others will react to our decisions and let that prevent us from being happy.
First off, a Disclaimer. If it’s Illegal, hurts someone (physically or emotionally) unnecessarily or is generally considered a “Dick Move”, don’t do it. This piece is not here to endorse selfishness, or mindless hedonism, or a denial of a certain level of responsibility we have toward our fellow man. This is about finding ways to be the truest expressions of ourselves and not letting the fear or judgment of others dictate our paths towards an authentic life.
The first step in this process is to decide what it is you want. Simple right? Not so much, huh? Ok look at it this way, what would you do if there were no barriers to it? Would you travel the world? Would you become a doctor or a chocolatier? Would you spend your spare time fostering a million kittens for your local Animal Shelter? What do YOU want? Not your parents, not your friends, not your significant other. Put their desires out of you mind for now. So Step 1 What do you want?
Step 2: does that fit with your personal code of ethics? We all have a set of rules in our head of how to behave in order to be a good person. Some come from cultural or religious influences, either in our upbringing or a current faith, some of our ethics come from our family and friends. And others still come from the way we’ve been treated in the past, good or bad. The tough bit now is separating what we feel to be the right way to behave versus the ones that we have taken on from outside sources that are not serving you. Once you’ve done that ask yourself the important question, “Does what I want fit within my ethical framework?” If it does, you’re ready for the next step.
Right, now you know what you want, and it fits with who you want to be as a person, so what’s next? Believe it or not you’re up to the comparatively easy bit, the “how do I get there” part? Work out all the nuts and bolts of it. Do you need to go to university to get the qualifications that you need for your dream job? Do you need to end a toxic relationship to be open for something spectacular to come along? Maybe you need to tighten your belt to afford to go on that 5 day meditation retreat. Whatever it is, make sure you have all the information at your disposal before talking to whomever it is you feel you need to justify your actions or decisions to.
We’re going to take a pause here and touch on a very small but intrinsic concept to this whole process, that it “the need to justify ones actions”. In a perfect world we wouldn’t need to worry about justifying our life choices because we would be surrounded by friends and family who love us, support us and only want us to be the truest versions of our selves. People who understand that while we all share this journey together, we must travel different paths and that not only is that ok, it is beautiful. Because it would get mighty boring if we all followed the same life plan. Unfortunately this is not always the case. Our loved ones, be they family, friends or lovers don’t always realise that while they may be acting from a place of love and concern, they’re belittling or even destroying our dreams.
This is usually for 1 or more of the following reasons:
- Loss of Control i.e. losing who you have been up until this point, regardless of whether you have been happy.
- Jealousy i.e. wishing they had the intestinal fortitude to mark out their own path to happiness.
- Risk Aversion i.e. The fear that it will all “blow up in your face” and that you won’t succeed, forgetting that every failure gives you an opportunity to learn.
The easiest way to get around this problem is just not care what other people think about what you do (provided it’s not affecting them) and then you don’t have to worry about step 4. But as you’ve gotten this far into the post, I can assume you do and need some help.
So Step 4: Telling who needs to be told. To be honest, you’re going to have to be strong on this one. There will be people who, for whatever reason, will want to talk you out of it. Don’t let them. You have made it this far, you’ve worked out what you want, it fits within your moral code and you know how to do it, don’t give up now. This is likely the simplest, yet most difficult part of the whole process as there is a lot of emotion tied up here.
Now if you’ve read my post on Faking it till you make it, you know that one of the tricks here is to seem confident, even if you’re not. You’re not there to ask permission, you are just giving them a heads up on your plans. IF it a change in career path or studies, explain your reasoning. Let your passion shine through but again, do not ask for permission. If you are ending a relationship, don’t ask for permission, just explain why you are no longer happy and why you feel it is time to move on. Be honest but not harsh. It will be painful enough for both of you without resorting to name calling and the blame game.
Finally Step 5: DO THE THING!! You’ve gotten through all that, and hopefully by holding on to your dreams, you have come out the other side relatively unscathed. Now take a big deep breath and dive in. Change, if not the whole world, at the very least yours, because you deserve it. You deserve to live your life happy, passionate and fulfilled.
So Get Up, Get Out There and Get Awesome
And Don’t let other people deny you your happiness.