This Little Light of Mine

By Suzanne Wiggins

I’m afraid. I’m not sure if it is important to know ‘why’ I’m afraid so much as it’s important to acknowledge the fear. I’m sure the root cause is the same for all of us. We fear the unknown. We fear moving outside our comfort level. We fear rejection. We fear attention and would rather remain invisible. We fear the responsibility that comes with achieving our lives’ happiness. We fear what others think. We fear complete and utter happiness because we’re use to being unhappy, and for that matter, we don’t know anyone happy enough to serve as an example. We fear that when and if we achieve our goals, which should result in happiness, it may not be as overwhelming as the  vision we have held in our mind oh so very long. And maybe, just maybe I fear that my secret hope of finding love as a result of finding happiness won’t come to fruition.

I’ve been attempting to discover the key for overcoming my fear and making progress along the trail to happiness. In my heart and head, I want to be brave. To do what’s hard and scary, not live life within the safe confines of my comfort zone. This is much harder, however, than it seems in concept. It’s definitely a matter of trial and error since overcoming fear is individual and unique to each of us. I think the only thing I know for sure is that the more aware we become and the more we attempt bravery, the better we get at making progress even in it’s smallest measure. And by awareness, I mean recognizing those moments when we shrink from the harder of two options.

It’s like the games we played as children. There were those who stuck close to the designated “safety zone” and then there were those few enormously confident souls who would run off to who knows where not seeming to care about the distance back to safety or the increased chance of getting caught or tagged. I would attempt to be one of the brave kids on occasion, but deep down I was a scaredy cat and wanted to be “safe” as quick as possible. But now, many decades later, I am ready to work on truly being a brave soul, because really, was the consequence of not making it back to the safe zone so bad? And how many of us liked being safe only to stand around waiting for the brave kids to reappear? We were rooting for them. We wanted to be like them. So, I’m accepting the challenge of those infamous words, YOU’RE IT! I’m now in charge. I simply need a strategy and to be as wily and brave as those who have sprinted off to places unknown.

Many people have been familiar with Marianne Williamson for some time, but I’ve only just discovered her sage wisdom recently. This quote continually inspires me.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are here for a reason. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are born to make manifest the glory that is within us. It’s not just in some of us. It’s in everyone, and, as we let our light shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.  ~ Marianne Williamson

And here’s the bonus – we don’t have to shine brighter than anyone else, we only have to shine OUR brightest. I don’t have to be braver than anyone else, I just have to be as brave as I possibly can and know that is good enough. And remember, becoming good at something is a process and to grow we must continue to try. We all crawled before we walked. We have all stumbled and gotten back up whether it was with help from another or on our own. Never did we decide it was just too hard and simply stopped walking. Think back to a time where you mustered all your courage and did something you deemed as brave and/or out of character. Was it not exhilarating? Did it not make your heart beat fast and your self-esteem grow? Why is it that those examples are so much rarer than the times we hesitated only to step back into our comfort zone and rationalized why it was ok to let the opportunity slip by?

So starting today, I’m going to make being brave a lifestyle choice. I may be afraid and I may on occasion forget not to run straight to the safety zone, but I know that with every brave choice I make, I will grow more confident and become happier.  And after all, isn’t that what life is about?

How to Get Unstuck

By Suzanne Wiggins

Lately, I seem to be at a standstill in my journey to self-discovery and change. Actually, it’s more like I’ve gotten lost or traveled off course. I discussed this with my friend Dawn last week and she asked if the issue could be a fear of success. Holy cow! Could I be exhibiting the behaviors of a successful person while actually being afraid of achieving real success?

As I mulled this idea over, I realized it is much more complicated than it appears on the surface. And I remembered a quote I had found quite some time ago on Pinterest. I wasn’t sure why I pinned it at the time, but its message now seemed clear to me.

Maybe you are searching among the branches, for what only appears in the roots. ~Unknown

Most of us bury beliefs about ourselves deep inside, hidden in those dark recesses we seldom explore. For example, I’ve always hated my middle name. If forced, I’d hesitantly disclose it, but basically I’m a first and last name gal. Not long ago I realized that this aversion I have carried with me my entire life was the result of one insignificant person, the older male cousin of my neighbor Georgietta Stansfield (great name), teasing me one day when I was around six or seven years old. It’s incredulous to me now to see how much power I gave to someone I don’t even know and how I allowed it to impact my self-identity for so many years.

Generally, most of these false ideas are developed or nurtured during childhood. It could be a belief about not being smart because you were told at an impressionable age you were stupid, or you’re unlucky, or clumsy, or too sensitive, or have a big nose, small eyes, or mousey hair. I see now that in the process of personal growth we need to be willing to explore those scary dark places, bring our beliefs to the surface and evaluate each one from an adult perspective. It can be quite the therapeutic experience.

So I asked myself, ‘Have I been sabotaging progress with my most important personal goals because of subconscious beliefs I have been harboring?’ Yikes, I felt like I could be onto something life changing here. As I pondered the question I had three important realizations: 1) I was raised to believe I should not have too high an opinion of myself, 2) I have a deep-rooted fear that if my life is too good or too happy something will surely happen to temper my bliss, and 3) I have not confidently believed that I could be truly happy in all aspects of my life.

These are definitely counter-intuitive beliefs for someone in the middle of a major life shift seeking balance, health and happiness. So I keep thinking, what other notions have I squirreled away that may be hindering my progress? I’m anxious to dig in and see what I may find.

But for now, I am making a commitment to truly believe that anything is possible with effort, that happiness isn’t correlated with despair, that it’s not only OK, but critically essential to have a high opinion of myself, and that old beliefs and past experience only control me to the degree I allow them to. My journey continues.

I’m starting over. -A new pattern of thoughts. -A new wave of emotions. -A new connection to the world. -A new belief system in myself.  ~Unknown