But in our now ‘civilized’ society where our physical survival is less threatened (well besides, guns and planes and autos..?) we still are very motivated to avoid emotional pain. It is very likely that you have carved out a comfort zone and are operating on its auto pilot. You have learned through your life experiences what you will and will not risk in your day to day life. But, what would your life look like if you were to risk emotional pain?
I am working through a 2 month exercise program (it is taking me 3 months!) It is challenging my physical comfort every day. I was pretty comfy in my old routine of physical activity – it was no longer a challenge, therefore my body looked rather ‘comfy.’ Now that I am enduring the ‘pain’ of the physical challenge, I am seeing some awesome results not only in my body, but also in my thinking. Now that I’ve gotten into challenging my physical self, I find that I am challenging my attitude and my thoughts. I’m starting to see myself as a stronger, more capable person, which is translating into being more adventurous and having more stamina to work through things in my life that are ‘difficult’ or that I have been avoiding. I’ve also noticed that things that used to bother me are no longer a big deal.
Now I am asking myself, “Am I willing to risk the emotional pain necessary to have: 1) the relationships that I want? 2) the self-care that I want? 3) the life’s work that I want? By avoiding pain and or working to stay comfortable, I make my world smaller. I limit my possibilities all in the name of keeping ‘safe.’ The amount of effort I put into keeping safe and avoiding could be re-directed into attitudes and activities that will enlarge and enrich my life.
I have risked embarrassment many times. I have failed many times. But, out of all those times has come my ability to play the piano, to speak in front of groups, to become a teacher, to become a coach. If I had kept myself comfy and safe, I would be missing out on the things that are making my life pretty great right now. By risking more and again, who knows what fun things await me in my future life.
Think about your own life. Where are you staying small and safe? If you take a risk and you are embarrassed or rejected, will you die? If you fail, does that disqualify you from being happy, worthy, valuable? How is staying small and safe working for you? What one small thing can you do today that feels like a risk? Do it. Note how it makes you feel.
My risk for today? Posting this blog!