Finding the Courage to Step into Your Greatness | The BridgeMaker

Finding the Courage to Step into Your Greatness

By on Nov 18, 2012

We change our behavior when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing. Consequences give us the pain that motivates us to change. – Henry Cloud

I can’t help but cringe when I hear these words – You’re better than that.

When I was 16 years old, I wasn’t an easy teenager to live with. I often got scolded by my parents for coming home late past my curfew or was lectured on how I should focus on my studies rather than my social life.

Half of the words that came out of my parents’ mouth would go in one ear and out the other. I would give them a less than heartfelt apology, just to get them off my case.

However, there were particular talks with my parents that would stick with me and awaken my guilty conscience. You know the talks I’m talking about – I’m not mad; I’m just disappointed because I know you’re better than that.”

These words reverberated to the depths of my core: “You’re better than that.”

As I got older, I preemptively protected a part of myself because I was afraid I would one day again feel that deep-seated guilt and immense disappointment from myself or from my loved ones.

Complacency is a Slow Suicide

As an act of self-preservation, I protected myself from the pain of failure. It’s only human nature to resist pain, but my fear of failing stopped me dead in my tracks from trying to get what I want. If I didn’t try, then I’d never feel the pain of failure, right?

This is one of the biggest mistake I’ve ever made.

Living in fear of failing led me to live a life filled with even more pain and angst. The more I avoided the possibility of failure, the more I became complacent. And complacent life led me to just settle for mediocrity as I was left with the constant feeling of vague dissatisfaction.

My broken relationships in the past caused me more pain than happiness because I feared that I wasn’t lovable enough to receive the love I wanted. I stayed in the same mundane profession for ten years because I was afraid to test the waters of potential future careers– I believed I wasn’t good enough to get a job I genuinely liked.

It wasn’t until years later when I learned that it’s not because some people have the confidence or the willpower to achieve what they want out of life and some don’t; it’s because some people are ready and more than willing to do whatever it takes to change their life.

The reality is this, life isn’t easy. However, this doesn’t mean you’re doomed to be unhappy for the rest of your life.

The only way we can live a satisfying and a rewarding life is if we change how we react to the world. As hard as it is to believe, no matter how bad our situation is… we will always get a choice on how to react to what life throws at us.

There are many people out there that blame and point fingers at everyone and everything else for their unhappiness. Despite all the trials and tribulations in life, the only person who’s responsible (and has the power) to change your life is you.

The Battle is Within

Joy is a mindset.

There will always be negative and positive things in life, but what you choose to focus on will make a profound impact on your emotional well-being. If you’re ready to transform your life, you will be 100% committed to do just about anything to change your life, even if it means sacrificing and letting go of old pains.

Resisting pain is resisting life, because human suffering is inevitable. Why try to control something you can’t control? Instead, you should try to use your negative emotions to fuel more positive outcomes in your life.

Learn how to cope with pain in a way that will help inspire you to change your life. By embracing your emotions and aspiring to move forward, overcoming life’s adversity will be less painful for you.

I used to let the fear of taking a risk and the fear of failing prevent me from moving in a forward direction.

Nowadays, I have a fear of stagnation and complacency when it comes to my personal growth.

In the past, I focused on what I didn’t want instead of what I did want for myself. I had no idea how much positive focus can make such a difference.

If you’re tired of living a life based on fears and riddled with self-doubt, just know you have to be the change you want to see happen in your life to. Take the action you need to make tangible results and take full responsibility of your thoughts and actions.

Uncuff yourself from the shackles you’ve placed upon your own feet by focusing on the task at hand AND most importantly, your desired results.

It’s like driving a car; you’ll more likely get to your destination if you keep your eyes on the road, instead of constantly checking the rearview mirror.

This minor shift will create a bigger space for you to take a chance on yourself and liberate yourself from your fears.

Q: Has your fear ever prevented you from taking a risk? If so, how did you rise above your fear and what results did you get? Feel free to share your thoughts in Comments below. Reading by email? Click through to the site to share.

Mika Maddela writes for the relationship advice blog, The Path to Passion. She helps people be unselfishly committed to the success and vitality of their relationship through self-awareness and emotional responsibility. If you enjoyed reading this, you may want to read about Lies Your Inner Critic Tells You (and How to Banish It).

  • Some thought provoking statements here and many that I can relate to Mika! I loved this statement: “use your negative emotions to fuel more positive outcomes in your life.” For me it’s about leaving the victim behind and finding the survivor spirit within. 🙂

    • “Leaving the victim behind and finding the survivor spirit within.” < — I *love* that!

      Thank you for your comment. Yes it's so much more empowering & liberating to leave the victim mentality behind. This is something I wished I learned many years ago.

  • Carmelo

    So well said Mika. It’s also good to start by making it a practice to try all sorts of things that are out of the norm for you. Shake the routine up. Try different little things often. Do the opposite of what you’d normally do in as many situations as is practical. This will cause you to see things differently and maybe soon do some of the more challenging things you’ve always avoided.

    Like you said, Mika, the battle is within but start with making a game of it! 🙂

    • Carmelo,

      I love your comment! I definitely think that being outside of your comfort zones allows sooooo much room for growth:) Take that time I went to Thailand for 3 months for example, I had all my money stolen from me and my return flight wasn’t until 6 weeks later–I had so much emotional growth from that trip! Anyway, thanks for your kind and insightful words.

      • Carmelo

        Oh wow, now that was a challenge!! You really had to get creative, I’m sure. Some would call it simply a disaster and withdraw but you see it as emotional growth. Good for you! (but lets hope THAT doesn’t happen again!)

  • Cathy Taughinbaugh

    Hi Miki,

    Very inspiring. I love that childhood line – “You’re better than that.” I heard that one a few times as well. We do hold ourselves back because of fear. This post was good timing for me, as I’m contemplating some changes and don’t want to be guided by fear, but rather I want to be inspired by looking towards the future. Thank you.

    • Cathy, thank you! Yes, aspiring to a better tomorrow is a great way to overcome fear! I asked Tim Ferriss a question about overcoming fear on his creative live presentation last week and he said something that really struck a chord with me: “You are better than what you think.” It’s true! Always aspire to be the best you possible, even when those little whispers of doubt get in the way. Thanks for your comment:)

  • Hi Mika! Outcome-anxiety, prodded on by the resident inner critic is the worst thing. Yet, knowing that, we tend to listen to that critic. I’ve learned to let go of outcome anxiety. But that inner critic is one toughie and learning to ignore it is taking longer. One problem could be that desire to be perfect. Although I’ve also realized it is not necessary to be perfect, I still find it hard to shove off the pressure I put on myself

    Wonderfully inspiring post. Thank you, Alex!

    • Vidya, glad you enjoyed it! Yes, I agree, the desire to “get it right all the time” is a hard one to shake off. Acceptance has allowed me to let go of the idea of perfectionism. I’ve also been able to embrace my fear by keeping in mind that a hero and a coward both have fears, yet it is their actions that makes them different. This has also helped quiet my inner critic’s voice:)

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