How We Relate to Fear

What I was thinking was:

Don’t be so tough, Caitie. People will think you’re a jerk. Lighten up. You need to be softer. People will think you’re no fun.

What I was saying was:

“No.”

The meeting rolled on. It hadn’t been deflated by my position. But I sat holding the discomfort of that no. I believed in what it stood for. A “Yes” or silence would have compromised on my values. So why did No feel like such a big anvil to drop?

We talk of choosing our courage over our fear, and fear wears many costumes. In my discomfort, what became evident was that that No was choosing my courage over my desire to be liked. The fear of being disliked, of not belonging, is so huge and so human, we can turn our back on our values - the very things that matter most to us - for it.

It was a gamechanger of an insight for me. It wouldn’t make standing in my values any easier. It wouldn’t make my hunger to liked any smaller. But it would help me to better know my fear. And with that knowing, choose how I want to relate to it.

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