Oftentimes, I imagine myself doing something great and amazing like speaking in front of a room full of women or leading a youth group on a volunteer trip in another country, and then almost immediately I start to feel anxious. I start thinking of my insecurities, doubts and fears and quickly abandon the original thought to relieve the anxiety. What I've grown to understand is that anxiety is what it is but how you perceive it and interpret it makes a difference. While the physical reaction might be very similar, we view excitement and nervousness as two different things. It may be true that the anxiety has some nervousness in the mix because of the fear of something new and/or unknown, but I find it so much easier to tackle new and challenging situations when I think of that anxiety as excitement and use it my fuel.
Even though I now know this, I still have moments when I go from thinking I want to set a goal of positively affecting the lives of 1 million children in my lifetime to maybe I'll just focus on my cousins and help them do better in school. While both are important, I know that the second statement comes out of fear of the first. My mom tells me often that I do not yet fully understand my greatness. Although I've accepted myself as someone who is intelligent among other positive qualities, I am now catching glimpses of what she means. I know that it is my calling to do something phenomenal, as it is for all of us no matter how we choose to do it.
When I start slipping into those moments of doubt, I now remember the words from Marianne Williamson: "Your playing small does not serve the world...we are all meant to shine..." (which comes from the popular passage "Our Deepest Fear" from one of her bestsellers A Return to Love.
So when I think about backing down from the challenge of pursuing my calling, I remember that that will not have the impact I want to have. And ultimately, I will be very unhappy if I went with that decision.
Have you ever felt like that? Had an idea of something great you wanted to do and almost immediately talked (or thought) yourself out of it? How do you motivate yourself?
I thought I'd share the entire passage because it is powerful.
Our Deepest Fear
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 and fabulous?
Actually who are we not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people
won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine as children do.
We were born to make manifest
the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And when we let our own 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
A Return to Love: Reflections on the
Principles of "A Course in Miracles"
This image is the me that is able and will do everything she has been called to do.