Much has been written about moving forward in life to obtain what we desire; to get the ‘brass ring,’ so to speak. And much has been written about why we can’t – the blockages that prevent us from taking the steps that will lead us in the direction to obtain those desires. We hear about “feeling the fear and doing it anyway” and “one step at a time.”
But what do those really mean?
Is it possible to face your fears and act on them? I believe it is possible, but you have to know what the fears are and have a course for how to take that action.
I was watching the movie, Selena, recently. For those who haven’t seen it, the movie is about the singer, Selena who was shot and killed by her fan club president. Jennifer Lopez portrayed Selena, which shot her to fame. Selena had fallen in love with her bandmate but hid her relationship because she feared her father’s reaction.
This caused Selena much anguish. In one particular scene, Selena was at a fair with her siblings, when one of them challenged her to go on a ride, and she quickly took up that challenge. Selena was up thirty feet in the air and was going to bungee jump off a platform. As she was getting ready to jump, she was hesitant but the ride operator, in seeing her hesitancy, told her that she would never know if she didn’t let go.
What an empowering statement!
It is often easier to hold on to the known as opposed to the unknown. It feels more comfortable to hold onto our negative thoughts. They drive us and protect us from a whole host of outcomes, like failing or getting hurt. But they also keep us down to repeat the same old thoughts and patterns that have not been serving us and that we are trying to change. To take the leap of faith – the bungee jump – we have to remember that we will not know what lies on the other side if we don’t take the leap or open the door. We will remain “stuck” in our current thoughts; they can create a flood of negative emotions that are difficult to live with, such as anger, frustration, anxiety, or depression.
There is a wonderful exercise to help you get unstuck, which is taken from the work of Byron Katie. It is a simple exercise but very powerful. It may not work at first but, with practice and effort, it can make the difference between the life you have now and the one you want:
1. What is an activity or experience you want but feel stuck from having?
2. What are your thoughts and feelings about not having this activity or experience?
3. What are the limiting beliefs or thoughts?
4. Ask yourself, “Is this true?” “Do I know this to be absolutely true?”
5. How do you react when you believe this thought?
6. Who would you be or how would your situation improve if you didn’t have that belief?
7. Now, turn the belief around to the opposite and ask it the new belief is as true, or truer than the original belief.
8. Does the new belief elicit the same response as before or a better one?
9. Decide which belief you want to focus on and adopt – the old one or the new.
Life is about choices, and this exercise will help you to make the right choice for how you want your life to be, whether that is for your personal life, your professional life or for your intimate relationships. You can stay on the ground, with your current thoughts and feelings, or you can climb the platform and open the door. As the line in the movie says, you will never know if you don’t!
Postscript: If you’re wondering what happened after she jumped, Selena and her boyfriend eloped; her fears were unfounded as her family embraced her marriage.