On my way to swim with the stingrays, June, 2010.
I am participating in #Trust30, an online initiative and 30-day writing challenge that encourages you to look within and trust yourself.
Prompt #8: Afraid To Do by Mary Jaksch
The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word, because the eyes of others have no data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loath to disappoint them.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Emerson says: "Always do what you are afraid to do." What is 'too scary' to write about? Try doing it now.
(Author: Mary Jaksch)
I found this prompt confusing, because it seems to me that the two quotes mean different things.
I believe the first quote refers to our reluctance to behave in unexpected ways so as not to alienate our social circle. We get comfortable in our little niche, and we don't want to risk losing our place. But the fact is those who truly have our best interests at heart will support us unconditionally. They will let us be our wild, wonderful, unpredictable selves and love us all the more for it. Inevitably, we will make mistakes; our real friends will help us pick up the pieces. When our risks pay off, they will show up at the front door with champagne and dark chocolate.
So, while we're quoting Emerson:
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.
As for the second quote, I try not to let fear stop me from doing anything I truly want to accomplish. For example, I am afraid of being in water over my head, but I put on a life jacket and swam with sting rays in Grand Cayman last June. I am afraid that I will never find a worthy life partner, but I keep putting myself out there. I am afraid I will never find success as a writer, but I am doing my best to learn the craft while developing a daily discipline.
My deepest fears have to do with things completely beyond my control. Tornadoes and earthquakes and house fires and decisions my children make and losing loved ones. When scary thoughts pop into my head, I try not to focus on them; instead, I acknowledge them and hope they will pass as quickly as they came. Then I focus on the next thing so there will be no room for them to come back - at least, not for a while.
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
~ Frank Herbert, Dune, "Litany Against Fear," 1965
Does peer pressure ever keep you from being all that you are? Do you ever find yourself immobilized by fear? How do you fight your fears?
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#ROW80 update: I got my Maggie entry (synopsis and 35 pages) submitted Sunday evening; I have been hard at work on my revision ever since. I've added only about 2000 words to my manuscript so far this week, but at least I'm back in the game, and hope to up that word count considerably tomorrow and Friday.