I am now beginning to realize the the reality of the leap I have taken. My last day at my job was two days ago, but since I worked a full work week, the fact that I was no longer employed did not hit me until midday yesterday. All at once, I felt the weight that I would not be returning to work the next day, and I panicked.
Fear took over, and for the rest of the day, there was a knot in my stomach. ‘What am I doing,’ I asked myself. ‘You’re going to fail. You’ve never succeeded before. How will this time be any different?’ I tried to calm myself down. I wrote down a list of things that I feared could go wrong. There were four items. I walked myself through them questioning if the fears were justified. I found that it really came down to one thing: I am scared of what I fell others will think of me if I fail.
I realize how ridiculous it would be to make decisions based on the future opinions of others. How will I be hurt if others think I’ve made the wrong choice? Do their opinions matter? I also realize that I cannot predict their opinions anyway. This is fear talking, setting up the worst case scenario in my mind. Yes, there may be a few people who will think less of me if I fail, but they are not the people who matter. They are bystanders to my life. The people who matter, who play a central role in my life, are supportive of my decision and would most likely grieve with me if I fail.
But, also, how am I defining failure? There are those who think I’ve already failed. Are they right? No. Because their measure for a successful life does not fit with my life. This is a truth that I have learned in life: each person’s life is their own, there is no ‘one-size fits all’ path to a successful life. Failure has to be defined individually. What is failure for others may be success for me. Being in a place where I do not know what will happen next is a success for me. I am facing my fears. My fears. Others’ fears will be different because they are different; they are not me. Dwelling in uncertainty if my fear, and I am succeeding. It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else; it is clear to me. That is all that matters.
One thing I am grateful for is the people who are there when my faith wavers. The path ahead of me is dark; I cannot always see clearly what the next step is. I see these people as little lights along the way, illuminating just enough of the path for me to get my footing. They do this simply by reminding me that I am on the right track and that it is normal to have moments of doubt. They never tell me what I should do but remind me that I already know what to do. They point me back to my inner wisdom when I have lost touch with it.
Too often we want to tell others how they should live their lives. We should strive to be the the small light pointed others back to their inner wisdom. Instead of saying ‘Here’s what you should do…’, we should say, ‘Listen to your soul. What is it telling you to do?’