I love this question. It’s a type of question that stops me in my tracks. It’s a twist on the classic question “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail”, which I quite like, too.
But the initial question above asks even if I DO completely face plant in my endeavor was it still worth it? For me, the answer is a resounding YES! The reason? Because I had the courage to attempt something. The courage to stretch myself beyond my comfort zone. The courage to risk vulnerability, judgment, ridicule, and also love, appreciation and respect.
Theodore Roosevelt gave a speech once titled “The Man in the Arena”. In this speech (and I’ll paraphrase) he talks about the man who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcomings. [He] who at best knows the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.
I dared greatly this year. I said yes to experiences that scared the shit out of me and ignited the samskaras of old. I have wanted to hide my achievements out of a codependent desire to not make anyone feel bad. I have dimmed my light because I felt it was arrogant to be proud of myself.
There is a big difference between confidence and arrogance.
I notice the people who celebrate with me and who stay quiet when I succeed and achieve. I have spent what feels like a couple lifetimes basing my worth on the reactions of others. “Oh they like this? I must be ok. Oh they didn’t ‘like’ it, I must suck”. Sound familiar? Then comes what Brene Brown refers to as the Shame Gremlins. Guilt is about what we’ve done, and shame is about who we feel we are. What I’ve learned is that shame is the fear of disconnection and that try as we might to deny it, we are hardwired to seek connection, love and belonging.
Brene states “Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging”. BAM!!!
How do we break out of the fear of being vulnerable? By that awareness I spoke of in my last blog. Awareness of the cognitive dissonance, or as I often say, the incongruity of how we feel and how we want to feel. That is what can spark change within us.
And, being vulnerable requires courage. There is no other way.
Of course I want to connect. I want to love and be loved. But that alone can’t determine nor define my actions. You will love me and connect with me or you won’t. But I walk away with my own courage either way.
**The pic is from a photo shoot for REI that just came online, and I am proud of it.