Deep within us lives the belief that we are here to do something great with our lives. That does not mean fame and fortune. That means some purpose that is ours alone and that the world will be the worse for not having had if we do not find and accomplish it.
What holds us back from this more than anything else is, I believe, fear.
Fear of failing.
Fear of succeeding.
Fear of not being good enough.
Fear of being too good.
Fear of not having any friends.
Fear of not having true friends (which is almost worse than none because there is no lonelier place than in a crowd).
Fear that we will achieve our dreams and still feel hollow.
It is the strange fate of man, that even in the greatest of evils the fear of the worst continues to haunt him.
It is very likely that you have already faced great evil.
The worst you will ever face may well be behind you. And if not, fear will not make the next great challenge easier.
I have been afraid of so many things in my life:
- being embarrassed in front of a large group of people (happened, lived to tell the tale)
- labor (happened, survived and have three sons)
- losing a baby (happened, survived though scarred)
- divorce (happened, survived and found big love)
- having a class I was teaching go totally out of control (happened, didn’t get fired)
- the truth (heard it, made me better)
Nothing I have ever truly feared has had the power to destroy me except for the fear itself.
I can trace the time I felt myself emerge victorious from fear to a single moment. I lay in a hospital bed knowing I was dying. I was full of pain and fear. I didn’t know what was going to happen when the moment came that I actually died, and in that unknowing was terror.
And then all of a sudden I knew that my grandmother who had died when I was two would come get me, and that I would go with her.
The fear left, and in its place was a courage that has remained with me. Because when you no longer fear death, there is not much point in being afraid of life.
So starting today, live in the room in your life house that is devoid of fear. Live in better conditions.
If you fail, you will be in the most exquisite of company.
If you lose your friends, at least you will still have yourself, which you will lose if you let fear govern you.
So look at your fear, face it, stare it down and do what you were meant to do.
Be the teacher you were meant to be. Be the parent you were meant to be. Be the friend you were meant to be. Be the human you were meant to be.
The poem from which I took the lines to make the image above ends with the lines
Your heart and my Heart
Are very old friends
This is true, my friend. And I would like to see you living in better conditions.
If you would like to download a printable of the image above, you can get a 5×7 here.