Being happy does not always require us to be brave. But, moving an obstacle out of the way of our happiness does require courage.
When we are stuck in a situation that makes us unhappy change is required to move forward. Moving forward might require you to take a leap of faith and try something new. It could mean following a yearning of your heart to try a new career, write a book, perform a play. It could require focusing on your health, giving up an addiction or saying no to commitments we no longer want to do.
So often when faced with the chance to make a change, we put the brakes on. We walk away from the opportunity or decline the invitation. In doing so, we choose to stay safe but stuck.
When we know we need to change something in order to pursue our happiness, we all get scared. Change is difficult, and it is easy to find a reason not to change. The ‘if only’ excuse is one of the most commonly used.
If only I had more money, if only I had gone to law school, if only my partner was more supportive, and so on. We look around for a reason not to jump into our dreams, and instead, we stay stuck. An excuse releases us from any requirement to change. It puts the blame outside ourselves. For, it is far easier to blame something else instead of our lack of courage. This little phrase lets us set aside all the responsibility for our happiness. What a terrible way to live. Yet we all do it many times in our lives.
If only… saves us from trying something and potentially failing. This allows us to keep our dream alive, but it places it safely out of reach, so we never have to act on it. Dreams placed safely out of reach in the ‘if only’ box, keep us stuck and unhappy. We get to blame our circumstances, but in our deepest of hearts, we know it is really only our fear holding us back.
Coming up with excuses why you cannot take a step in the direction of your dream is to make life overly complicated and difficult. And not to mention sad.
To live like this, in a fantasy of possibility, is safe. We can make ourselves feel better about our situation by saying we could have been a writer if we had a great agent, or if we had more time and a trust fund paying our bills. We are scared to see what would happen if we just jumped. We don’t trust our ability to succeed, and so we step back from the edge. We never take the leap of faith needed to make our dreams come true. We fear that we will smash into reality, and that will be the end of it all. But, what if you flew, or what if crashing to another obstacle is precisely the doorway through which you find what makes you come alive. More than one successful person has attributed rock bottom to the beginning of their new life. There is nothing to fear from trusting yourself and your abilities to try out your dreams.
Take the risk that your dream requires. Submit the novel, sing the song, move countries, profess your love, do that which you fear the most, which you feel so called to do. Drag that dream out of the realm of possibility and try it on for size. If you get rejected, or it doesn’t turn out as you planned. So what? You learned something from the experience, and now you can move on. You won’t be stuck, you will be living your dream, or moving on with the next dream.
The bird who dares to fall, is the bird who learns to fly.