We all have underlying fears that keep us from getting what we want in life. These fears are deep and they are usually related to past hurts. You have issues. I have issues. We all have enough to fill a magazine rack.
But in order to get what we want, we need to grow. We need to make changes. We need to go outside of our comfort zone. I know you’ve heard that phrase a million times, but I’d like to look at what it really means.
When you choose to stay with what feels comfortable and familiar, you get to avoid having to face anything that may require you to confront your issues. Doing this may feel like it is keeping you safe, but it is really keeping you stuck.
Something that’s important to know is that the anxiety you have about facing your fears is almost always much worse than just doing the thing you’re so afraid to do.
When I was dating, I had enough emotional blocks for a wicked game of Tetris. I was scared. I was stuck. But then something happened that changed my life.
Here’s how it went down:
Let me begin by saying that I am not a thrill-seeker, at least not in the physical sense. You won’t find me bungee jumping or skydiving or anything else with the words “jump” or “dive” in it.
Part of the reason is that I fell off a horse when I was 15 and very nearly killed myself. It was deeply traumatic, so you can also cross off things with the word “ride” in it too.
So, there I was at a leadership training in the woods. I had neglected to read the fine print on the contract when I signed up for the course. If I’d paid better attention, I would have known that we were going to be doing a series of death-defying challenges known as a ropes course.
I found myself standing underneath a 10-story suspension bridge strung between two redwood trees. They were expecting me to walk across this thing.
But it gets better. I need to tell you about the construction: two ropes with some slats laid across them. That’s it. No handrails. Just a safety harness tethered to your groin that you trust other people to hoist you up with if you fall. Good thing I don’t have any trust issues. None at all.
I’m not done. The slats were spaced far apart so you had to stretch to get from one to the other and the whole thing shakes. It is specifically designed to throw you off balance and make you feel like you’re going to fall to your death at any moment.
As I was standing on the ground watching the other women go, I began to freak out. The first one shimmied up the pole and stepped out on the plank. It started to shake. She froze. I froze.
The first one shimmied up the pole, stepped out onto the plank. It started to shake. She froze. I froze.
A few more go. Some of them freeze, some of them fall. They get up. The bridge shook. I shook. It was almost my turn. What was I going to do? I was so paralyzed with fear that I literally left my body.
Then, a voice that is not my own, said, “Go sit under a tree and meditate.”
I didn’t have a better plan, so I sat down on the ground and propped my back up against one of the Redwood trees. I closed my eyes. “Breathe,” I told myself. “Just breathe.”
Eventually, I began to calm down a little and feel the blood come back into my limbs. Then, I heard the voice again.
“The nature of the bridge is to shake. Expect it to shake. It will shake.”
I opened my eyes. That’s it?? That’s all you got for me, Jedi voice? Expect it to shake? What was I supposed to do with that?
I sat with it and, after a few moments, it miraculously began to make sense! There was nothing I could do to stop the bridge from shaking. That is its true nature. If I got angry at it for shaking and I fought it, I would lose. I had to embrace the nature of the bridge. I had to work with it, instead of against it. And that’s exactly what I did.
I climbed the pole, I stepped onto the first plank and, true to its nature, the bridge shook.
I waited for it to stop. When I felt confident and safe, I took the next step. The bridge shook again. I kept my knees soft and waited for the shaking to stop. Then, I took another step. And just like that, step-by-step, I got across the bridge.
So, just as the nature of the bridge is to shake, the nature of dating is to face your fears and insecurities. Dating forces you to look at the ways you hold back and doubt yourself. As you go on dates and are searching for love, your fears are bound to come up.
Just like most people panicked when the bridge started shaking, most people freeze, go into victim mode and retreat to their comfort zone when dating gets real. But what if, instead of freezing, you could embrace the nature of dating?
It is only when you have accepted the true nature of something that you will see what it has to teach you.
Dating shows you what your fears and blocks are so you can pause, breathe and accept them. Maybe you are afraid of rejection. Maybe you’re afraid to open up and show someone the real you. Maybe you are afraid to ask for what you want from a man because you’re afraid you will seem needy or insecure. Whatever your fears are, dating is designed to show you where they are so you can move past them and get across the bridge to your true love who is waiting for you on the other side.
And here’s the great news: the other side is glorious. Facing my fears and getting to the other side of that bridge was the best feeling in the world. I wouldn’t want to do it again, nor would I want to look for another Benjamin, but I am closer to my true self for having done it.
If you would like some help in getting to your other side, click here to schedule a breakthrough session with me. Take a step towards finding the guardian of your soul. Trust me. It will be worth it.