On Friday, I told you how I messed up my week by failing to plan and procrastinating about things that I need to do, but that is not the full story.
As I sat down on Saturday to plan out my week, I started thinking about my goals for the year. I started thinking about how I want to start a new business this year (one that I can do from home) and how I want to increase my skills in design (crochet & graphic) and how I want to write a book, and I realized that something is holding me back. As I was writing out a list of projects that I want to complete this week, I felt this sense of being overwhelmed, but it wasn’t caused by the amount of things on my list.
I was overwhelmed by fear.
I’m scared. I’m scared of failing. I’m scared of succeeding.
So I look for excuses. I look for reasons why I shouldn’t even try. Reasons like I don’t have the skills that I need or that I don’t have the time (even though I seem to have lots of time to watch TV shows on Netflix and Hulu).
I procrastinate. I put off what I should be doing in order to do something that is less scary and more entertaining. Notice that I didn’t say something that is more enjoyable. There is a reason for that. It is because I usually enjoy doing what I putting off (unless it is cleaning) as much or more than I enjoy the activity that I am procrastinating with. I put it off, not because I don’t want to do it, but because I’m scared that if I attempt to do it I will fail or that I will learn something that I don’t want to learn.
I also realized that I do this with my relationships as well. I let fear drive my relationships just as much if not more than I let it drive my professional life.
It is hard for me to reach out to others because I fear being made fun or rejected.
Most of my life I have felt like I was standing on the outside looking in when it comes to making friends. I would watch other people make friends, and it would seem so easy for them.
I, on the other hand, was the one that everyone seemed to enjoy making fun of, or when I would reach out it wasn’t reciprocated or it would be until they found someone “better” to hang out with. (Well, that was my perception anyway. Since then I have come to see how as a child my behavior and my reactions could exasperate the situation and push people away. I was a bit of a know-it-all. I still can be if you ask my mother.)
But all of it left a fear in me. It left a fear of reaching out and being rejected.
Because of this fear, I have a tendency to unconsciously self-sabotage my relationships. When people start getting close to me, I find myself pulling away from them. I put up walls and watch to see if they value me enough to try to break through those walls.
But that’s not love.
Love doesn’t put up walls. It means tearing down walls.
Love doesn’t test others to find out how much they love us. It accepts that we all are imperfect and that at some point we are going to fail each other, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love each other.
Love means reaching out even when you are scared stiff.
Love means treating others the way that you want to be treated even if it is not reciprocated.
I can say that I love people, but if I’m putting up walls instead of reaching out, then I do not truly love them.
Love means making people a priority. It means being there. It means listening. It means spending time with them (electronics off). It means calling them just to chat or sending a card to let them know that you are thinking of them.
It means taking a risk, being vulnerable, opening yourself up to being hurt, and putting someone else’s needs before your own.
I have a choice to make. It is one that we all have to make each and every day. It is a choice to live in fear of being hurt or rejected or to live in love.
Which will you choose?
What fears do you have that keep you from reaching out to other people? What walls do you need to tear down in your relationships?
Call that friend that you have been thinking about. Invite her to lunch. Spend some time getting reacquainted.