I was brought up in fear of the neighbours.
They were I’m sure, all perfectly nice, normal people but my parents were always extolling me to do something, or not, because “what would the neighbours think?”. As well as encouraging me to leave the small Shropshire town as soon as I could, it gave me an inbuilt fear of what people would think of me.
As author Neale Donald Walsh writes, “So long as you’re still worried about what others think of you, you are owned by them. Only when you require no approval from outside yourself can you own yourself.” I wish I’d read that at 17, it’s taken far too long to stop worrying about other people’s opinion!
We will always wonder to a certain extent what others might think, whether it’s that dread of the frowns when your toddler throws a tantrum, or the indecision on what to wear to the Christmas party. It’s true that often when we do step out or speak up, the results may not always be pleasant. You’ll run up against criticism, opposition, and those raised eyebrows.
What happens when we allow fear to block us? Our fear can rob us of a full life. Moving on or making a change can often be terrifying; it’s that uncertain step into the unknown. I’ve learnt though that the true meaning of courage is to be very afraid, and then with your mouth dry and knees knocking, to step out anyway. What I also know is that what we fear most has no power. It is our fear that has the power and each time we give in to it, we lose our confidence, and our fear gains strength.
So if we are to have the big vision, and to advance towards our greatest goals, we have to make the first bold step. We have to decide that no matter how scary the path ahead looks, we have to push past our anxiety and keep stepping out. Oh yes, and to hell with the neighbours.
PS If you need to face your fear but need some help, why not book a call with me and have a chat. I’m here to help you achieve your big goal next year.