One of my favorite movies of ALL time is “The Croods” by Dreamworks. Have you seen it? Go watch it, right now!! Well, read this blog post first, I guess. Except there may be spoilers, so, maybe…nah, just read this and promise me you’ll watch the movie, okay?
Anyway, the movie centers around a family of cave people trying to survive. They have strict rules laid down by the father of the family that are supposed to keep them safe; they can’t leave the cave unless their dad checks things out first, they have to be back in the cave by dark, and the father often tells them to “never not be afraid”. Then they come across a young man who is kind of a visionary/inventor type and he keeps telling them that they need to keep moving because something big is going to happen. Sure enough, an earthquake hits and their cave, well, caves in. They set out into the unknown and learn lots of great lessons on the way. The father, in particular learns that in order for his family to survive AND thrive, he couldn’t keep holding on to the same fears he had had in the past. There’s an exchange between the father, Grug, and his daughter, Eep, where he says something like, “The rules have kept us ALIVE!” And she yells back, “This isn’t living! It’s just…not dying!”
That always resonates with me. I have indulged in my fair share of fear throughout my life. We hold on to fear with a vise-like grip because, from an evolutionary standpoint, it’s kept us alive. Being fearful and cautious is a normal function of the brain that allowed us to grow as a species at an incredible rate (along with many other complicated things, but this was definitely big on the list). If you have a natural fear of meeting a tiger outside your cave, then you’ll be extremely cautious and ONLY leave the cave when the need for food overrides the need to stay safe.
But we don’t live in caves anymore.
We are letting the fear and caution that kept us alive and allowed us to multiply as a species keep us from evolving any further. That fear is now paralyzing us, making us imagine that starting that business we’ve always dreamed of is a giant tiger waiting to kill and eat us; that making a big goal in regards to our health is the equivalent of a famine depriving us of food. But none of these things are actually going to kill us. Sure, starting a business may cause you a bit of social or financial “danger”, but you’ll come out on the other side physically unscathed. And deciding to eat healthier foods and exercise may cause you to feel a lot of negative emotion, but it most definitely won’t kill you. The opposite is actually true.
As I’ve watched my daughter struggle these past few days from an injury, I’ve struggled myself with feelings of fear that she will be held back by the trauma she went through. She’s been SO afraid of feeling any sort of pain, and rightly so. And I’ve been afraid of HER being afraid. I’ve been afraid of having to watch her be in pain and holding herself back because she’s afraid of experiencing pain. But I’m learning that my own fear is holding me back from showing up as the mom I want to be, one who models trying new things and moving forward even (and maybe especially) when things get scary. I can’t control whether or not she’ll overcome this, but I CAN control how I show up around her.
And I want to show up with overflowing love and belief in her. I want to have absolute faith in her. But I can’t do that when I’m stuck in thoughts of fear that this will scar her for life, and meanwhile I’m not modeling putting myself out there for her.
So, today, my friends, I invite you to let go of your fear. Lean into it. Get curious about it.
But NEVER let it hold you back.
Beyond it really are amazing things, and probably everything you’ve dreamed of.
And remember: you’re (most likely) not going to die. 😉 You will (most likely) evolve into the next version of yourself. Not that the old version isn’t good enough, she absolutely is. But because she knows that she’s good enough, she wants to go further, to live bigger.
She wants to evolve.
What fears have been holding you back? Let’s talk about them in the comments!