As sobering as it is to admit, I allowed many years of my life to be governed by fear.
Almost every move I made was done out of self-protection or self-preservation. I’d approach most situations with caution, paranoid that a good moment would go sour or that a bad one would go from ‘worse’ to ‘worst’. When it came to trying new things or meeting new people, my first impulse was to flee the other direction. And, being a perfectionist, I only committed to things I was sure I could do, out of fear of making mistakes.
Yet these attempts to build a safe life never really felt “safe” at all. The comfort zone felt so damn uncomfortable. And thank God for that, because it takes a certain level of pain and restlessness to bring about real change.
I have found that ever since I started saying “yes” to more things without really knowing where they would take me, life has opened up. My horizons have broadened dramatically. The future is filled with possibility, and for the first time in a long time, I’ve made peace with uncertainty. Maybe that’s part of the fun: not knowing, and then finding out.
I am learning to say “yes” to Life, to stop holding it at bay. To let it — with its messiness, chaos, and wonderful unpredictability — to touch me, so that I, in turn, can touch It. Every experience leaves its fingerprints on us, and I am learning to relish them, good or bad, because they make life richer. After all, I can’t leave my fingerprints on the world if I’m too afraid to let the world leave its fingerprints on me.
It’s not that I’m fearless. Far from it. It’s just that I’m finally letting myself care about other things more than I care about my fears. I cannot serve two masters at the same time. In order to live a value-driven life, I must give up the fear-driven life. And doing so has been immensely liberating. My connections with others, my personal growth, and my ability to live with authenticity have benefited from my willingness to sacrifice comfort in order to live according to my values.
So say “yes” to life.
Say “yes” to each moment without worrying so much about it’s impermanence — whether it’s having coffee with a friend, standing awestruck before a sunset, or getting lost in a dance with someone. Say “yes” to new experiences and people, letting the allure of possibility overshadow the need for predictability once in a while. And say “yes” to opportunities for growth, even if they involve discomfort, because doing so will make life much, much bigger.
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