In 2008, when my then-husband read my journals and found out I’d had an affair 8 years prior, it seemed like the worst thing that could possibly happen. I mean, can you imagine?! I had so much fear and shame wrapped around this discovery, not only because of him, but because it exposed a truth about myself I wasn’t willing to acknowledge or embrace. The truth was that my marriage had been over for a long time, but I feared what others would think of me if I ended it, if I failed. So instead, I set a bomb that would eventually detonate since I needed an explosion of that magnitude to wake me up.
I could never have imagined what would happen on the other side of my greatest fear. I didn’t understand how restricted I was until I was free. So, crazy as it sounds, I am eternally grateful that he read those journals. I didn’t just get divorced; I rebuilt my relationship with myself, reclaimed my dreams, and discovered new ones. I firmly believe that the many opportunities that came my way would not have happened if I had stayed in my marriage.
I had not chosen to confront my fears around my failing marriage. But when I was forced to face them, I was actually taking the first step toward purposefully confronting many other fears that had been holding me back. And now I choose to face my fears every day. It’s the only way to live an authentic life.
My first conscious effort in facing my fears was to tell the truth.
Next it was to say “Yes” to what excited me, even if – especially if – it scared me too, and “No” to what I didn’t want.
I was so afraid of what saying “no” would look and sound like to others. But when I finally trusted my heart and followed it –instead of my fear – saying “no” instead of my knee-jerk reaction of “yes” was deeply empowering. It took a long time, but I now honestly say “yes” to what I want to do, say “no” to the rest and let go of that which no longer serves me. And in doing so, I share my truth freely and allow others to really see and feel me.
Then I learned to honor and befriend the fears that have kept me restricted.
Your fears are a gift. Every time you act in spite of them, you grow stronger. Every time you overcome a fear, you are making another leap forward into living your authentic life.
What are the fears you want to befriend? I’d love to hear from you on Facebook!