Fear of Looking Foolish

 

“We cannot escape fear.   We can only transform it into
a companion that accompanies us on all of our exciting adventures….
Take a risk a day-a small or bold stroke that will make you feel great once you have done it.”
Susan Jeffers 

Living fully requires taking daily risks.   I’m not talking about a thrill seeker’s high-octane adrenaline fueled risks. I am talking about the type of chances that require greater courage than the threat of mere death.

I grew up in a small town in Washington State, which means everyone knows who you are and what you’re up to.  If you ever thought you wanted to try something different it meant risking social dissonance.  In order to become more than what others think of you meant having to step outside of “their” judgment.  A difficult task for sure!  But standing here today it was well worth it.  Interestingly, it was my fear of conformity that helped me to embrace change.  I never wanted to be like everyone else.  I have always desired to be the best person I can be.

Living in harmony with your mind, body, emotions and spirit requires us to take gambles of epic proportion. These gigantic stakes occur when we actively choose to face and express ourselves despite the probability of looking foolish.  The irony, of it all, is that without charging these brazen moments we risk never becoming completely alive.   Risking feeling foolish is the act of the brave.  Revealing our true selves right or wrong, good or bad, is looking down the barrel of fear itself.

The fear of looking foolish enchains us.  Afraid of change we hold on tighter and tighter to that which we’ve already experienced, as if its familiarity is some sort of security.  So we get caught up in holding on, grasping with dear life to the mundane and predictable.  So afraid of our fate—that we might actually become transformed—we fail to embrace a life truly worth living.

Through years of research, study and self examination, I realized that transformation is our natural state of being.  There is nothing held within the universe that is stable or fixed.  Everything is moving, changing form, expressing different versions of itself in every moment . . . even when we refuse to see it.

To risk embarrassment is simply a stepping stone for growth.  So pick up that paint brush, become a beginner, be foolish . . . take those first steps and learn to dance . . . knowing that as you do . . . you become.

Shelly Lynott, May 3, 2012