Do you want to pursue your passion & priorities? Even though you understand that obstacles will come along the way, are you still unable to move forward? Perhaps you would much rather stay in your zone of comfort as it is nice there? Is becoming more vulnerable also seen as a sign of weakness and you certainly don’t want others to see you that way? Or is it fear of the unknown or failing that is making you feel very uncomfortable? Let me address all three:
Stepping out of your comfort zone.
Michael Singer says it best in The Untethered Soul. He uses the analogy that we are all like dogs with an electric shock collar. We think we are free but we have several invisible electric fences around us. Everytime we get close, we feel the shock from the collar and go back into our comfort zone. We know freedom is on the other side however we decide to kick the bucket down the road. Think about the major transformations in your life – which ones happened because it was served to you on a silver platter vs. pushing beyond your internal limits. The only way to break free is to understand the pain and have the discipline to keep at it until you eventually go through. Are you aware of your fences?
Is ego getting in the way?
I was more concerned about the version of me in other’s minds than the version of me I was happy being! The former was nothing but an ego exercise-to be loved by all was like rocket fuel for my ego!
I didn’t realise at the time but being multiple personas requires a lot of effort. It felt as if I was constantly on stage, working, and that was very tiring. When I started to remove the masks, I realised how easy it was to be me. Why be the second rate version of someone else when I can be the best version of myself? Now that it was concluded that being authentic is easier, why is it so difficult to take off all the masks? Reality is that it is a combination of wearing the masks for so long and being concerned about what others will think.
What happened next was truly an eye opener. Through humility, as I started to unmask, I noticed people around me also started to unmask too. It was clear I was not the only one happy to do so. This allowed for stronger and deeper relationships to develop. Are you trying to impress when you are around others or are you letting the authentic you shine?
Fear will hold you prisoner.
Fear is a natural response which is there to protect us. The thing is however, we do not live in a dangerous world. I have seen fear limit me in so many areas of my life, which in many cases prevented me from reaching my desired summit. I used to enter what I thought were controversial conversations with others with fear as the primary emotion. How do I expect to achieve a positive outcome if I enter with a negative emotion. It was with this awareness I started to approach the so-called controversial conversations with love & empathy and watched relationships start to blossom. A key attribute to this is courage.
Another great example is when I go mountain climbing. With fear, I probably would not take a single step, however through training and education, we gradually succeeded in reaching the summit of more challenging mountains by building courage in self. It went from a trek to a basic technical mountain to a full technical mountain. That was only made possible by strengthening our ability which gave us the courage to keep challenging ourselves further.
So the attributes to truly break free for me have been a mosaic of the Trifecta: Discipline + Humility + Courage. These 3 virtues helped me BREAK FREE to Live Free! What made it easier for me was knowing that I would no longer wake up at the age of 90 and look back at my life in regret but rather in awe.
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