Dear 2016, Let’s Get Scared Shitless

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While watching the year’s first sunrise, I finished Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly audiobook. How appropriate. I started listening while flying home to Chicago for Christmas last week, and it was a nice punctuation to my mom’s Yule B Swingin’ on repeat. 

As illustrated in my last post, I have a Vulnerability Thing. We all do, really. I knew I had a Vulnerability Thing, but Daring Greatly–along with other difficult, circumstantial revelations–made me realize that my Vulnerability Thing is more like a Vulnerability Web. It isn’t like some secret I stash under my bed; It’s a sticky, insidious entity that permeates my life in ways that I hadn’t even realized.

Now, whether this is something that’ll turn into a series of posts or is better left for me to talk out with my therapist, that remains to be seen. But what I do know is that vulnerability is good and necessary, and it’s also downright terrifying.

Therefore, through slightly flawed logic, I’m gonna say that what I’m afraid of is exactly what I need to go toward.

“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator…The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”

–Steven Pressfield

Fear feels like falling in love. Both leave you panting, exhilarated, sweating, and a little nauseated. Not acting on fear is like not acting on love, and something that triggers that kind of response is fucking important.

Fear can be misconstrued as aversions–I’m especially good at this. I’m averted to commitment, emotional intimacy, emotional expression, disruptions in my carefully constructed routine, and putting my work out into the world. “I’m just not one of those feelings people,” I used to think.

God, was I wrong. Not only am I a “feelings person,” I’m a sensitive, emotional, gooey-caramel-center kind of person. And it scares the crap out of me.

And those things that I’m averted to? I’m averted to them because they scare the crap out of me, too.

But when we refuse to acknowledge certain parts of ourselves, we also unconsciously judge those same behaviors when others express them. So in order to stop contributing to the incorrect mentality that Vulnerability = Weakness (which is the basis of so many of our world’s problems), I need to start owning and loving that sensitive, exposed, raw part of myself.

In Daring Greatly, Brown says in order to learn, you must be uncomfortable–they go hand-in-hand. She also said this in a TIME interview:

He or she who is the most capable of being uncomfortable rises the fastest. There is a huge correlation between a capacity for discomfort and wholeheartedness. If you cannot manage discomfort, that sends you barreling into perfectionism, blame, rationalizing–without taking away key learnings… Men and women who rise strong are curious people. They’re, like, “What do I need to dig into?”

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable? Maintaining a sense of playful curiosity without judgement?

OMG, it’s like yoga.

I’m not big on resolutions, but since it’s the first day of 2016, it’s a good time to make a commitment to myself:

I will follow my fear. I will put myself in situations that scare me, because it means they are important to me on a visceral, soul-stirring level. I will be uncomfortable, and not try to be un-uncomfortable. I will welcome my fear, be grateful for it, and do it anyway.

The more it scares me, the more I promise to joyfully, lustfully hunt it down.

This year will be big. May we shed what no longer serves us, and welcome with open arms the things that lead us to the most perfect expression of our Selves. Especially if it terrifies us.

signaturetransparent raquel alexandra

 


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