“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”  Anais Nin

I’d love for this to be an inspirational column but right now I’m feeling it might be more of a venting session.  I can’t begin to tell you how many possibilities and potentials go unrealized because someone is afraid of something. Whether be looking foolish, risking change, or just simply afraid of commitment, I’m convinced fear is the anti-Christ because it sucks all the good stuff out of life.

It is my belief that people are born with a kind of internal drive that determines their needs, wants, and desires. Anyone who has been around children can tell that they are born so completely differently it is mind boggling. One likes mashed peas and the other will only eat Berry Berry Kix. One tries to systemically remove the screws from the swing set while the other plays on it. As parents we know this about our young and gladly do our best to create an environment that works for them and fosters their growth.

Raising children who care about others, can think for themselves, and are capable of going into the world successfully without us is important. However it is not a substitute for raising ourselves and overcoming our own fears. In fact, I would say our own self-development is more important to our children’s wellbeing than making sure the pantry is stocked with Berry Berry Kix.  Our children look to us to light the way to conduct a meaningful and successful life. They look to us to show them how to overcome adversity, deal with peer pressure, treat our bodies, establish friendships, manage a marriage, and a whole host of other things. Most importantly they look to us to show them how to view the world and themselves within it.

When we as adults are scared of change, intimidated by others, too lazy/tired/unmotivated to try, or limited in their own self-perception we all pay a price. When we as adults tell little ‘white’ lies, make excuses for our behavior, or blame others (our ex, the government, the company) for the state of our lives we create a new generation of young people that is inclined to do the same. If you think about it, it is fear based behavior.

There are many fears that stifle our fabulousness and here are a few as well as the best antidote I know:

Fear of being poor or of not having enough money.
Antidote: Be thankful for what you do have and remember that we live in a bountiful world and you are entitled to enjoy that bounty EVERYDAY.

Fear of confronting people who do not treat us as we deserve to be treated.
Antidote: Practice using “I” statements – I feel my work is disrespected when you leave the house a mess after I have cleaned it.

Fear of the man-eating dust bunnies under our bed.
Antidote: Set aside an hour, put it on your calendar, psych yourself up, and plunge into clearing this space with great abandon! Reward yourself amply upon completion. (Or hire someone else to do it)

Fear of saying how we really feel.
Antidote: Either say it or don’t but if you don’t say it, you need to let it go. Seething about something unsaid is like intentionally covering your inner light with sticky black tar.

Fear of being lonely.
There is a difference between being alone and being lonely. One can be joyful alone and one can be lonely in a crowd.
Antidote: The best way to overcome loneliness is to like yourself and find your inner joy – that way even when you are alone you are happy. I have a friend who went on a beach trip with another person say “It is a good thing I find myself so amusing because I would have been bored out of my mind if I had to depend on so-and-so for entertainment.”

Fear of apologizing and admitting that we were wrong.
I wish there was a way to avoid taking responsibility for our actions but there is not.
Antidote: Man up, woman up, kick butt and move forward. Successful people have many piles of mistakes and apologies behind them.

Fear of wanting something because we don’t feel deserving of it (hello Calvinism)
Antidote: The same way we want our children to live without want and enjoy their lives; God wants the same for us.

Fear of honestly examining our selves and our lives and owning what we’ve created both good and not so good.
Antidote: Dive in and examine. Believe it or not, this will give us more power than anything else in the world. Just don’t get greedy and try to own other people’s boneheaded actions. Sometimes we are actually not at fault and sometimes we are fully at fault.

We all need to quit focusing on the outside world, on what other people think, on whether or not the college we went to carries enough prestige, on how big our house is, how much we weigh, on the past mistakes we made, or how much money we do or do not make. We need to embrace our inner kick butt warrior, take the world by storm and own our potential like the men and women we know we can be.  I say to you now, have courage and confidence and Bloom damn it! Cuz’ baby you are beautiful.