“Fear: who am I to do this? Love: Who are you not to?” Gabby Bernstein. The beginning of any venture is often met with fear. For me, it’s fear of failure, imposter syndrome, and even fear of success. I tear myself up with the ideas of spending time on something only to have it fall apart, or worse yet, never really come together. I fear that people will see through me, like I’m not really meant to be there in the first place. And, yes, I fear succeeding. I fear that I won’t be able to maintain the same level of success once I achieve it.
I logically know that success or failure are moot points—we are meant to have the experience to get us to our purpose. So what am I really afraid of? Maybe it’s what people think of me, of my work, of my experience. What if I don’t present the perfect life?! There is no perfection—again, I logically know that, but I fight for it to find worth in myself. It’s so easy to forget we are inherently worthy. We let life get in the way and we assign value to how we’ve behaved in our given experiences and we label ourselves “good” or “bad” depending on what we’ve been trained to believe. THAT is where I lost my self-worth.
From a young age my worth was tied to everything external. My grades were the indicator of how well I was doing. When I struggled with a class in junior high, my world started to fall apart. I see how ridiculous that is, but it is the perfect example of why we DON’T tie our worth to something we have little control over. We all have strengths and weaknesses, and I was taught to hide those weaknesses. The reality is that a grade is the most arbitrary indicator of who we are and has no real weight in life. I spent the majority of my education simply puking back facts to get a good grade and that was no real measure of success. In fact, it kept me stuck because it started the cycle of proving that I could do something instead of teaching me to make something of my own.
We are meant to create. We are meant to express life in all the ways I can be. Fear served a purpose at one point and honest fear still serves the purpose of keeping us alive. But self-imposed societal fear means nothing. We are here for a blip in time and there is no reason why we should not express ourselves to the fullest. There is no reason why we shouldn’t love life and experience the things we want to. The universe is a really big place and so much of what we do has so little consequence in the end. Man started telling stories of a heaven and a hell disguised as a moral barometer when it really was designed to keep people in line. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t treat people well or that we should forgo all social niceties—but I AM saying that we need to realize that it doesn’t matter what kind of fork we use to eat a salad.
Everyone has an opinion but that is all it is: an opinion. The important thing is our integrity. Martha Beck talks about integrity not as a moralizing word but as a structure in our lives. When we live our lives in integrity, we are in tact and living in our authenticity. That is how we know what matters to us. And the truth is, fear has no place there. Often times fear won’t even show itself when we are living our truth. So it doesn’t matter as long as we aren’t hurting people or the Earth—do what works for you. Fear is a liar and the last indicator of what we should or shouldn’t do. So take the leap.