“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” – Marianne Williamson.
My knee jerk reaction is to deny this truth. Of course I fear inadequacy. I am a recovering perfectionistâ€¦inadequacy is where I live if I am not aware and careful and kind to myself.
And then, I get to thinking about all the wonderful opportunities that have been presented to me recently. Stores offering me space to display and sell my art. People asking me for custom pet portraits, or other commissioned paintings. Fabulous networking and meeting people who I can collaborate with, or trade services. An abundance of ideas and inspirationsâ€¦such an abundance that it can become overwhelming at times. And this is where things shiftâ€¦what if I canâ€™t keep up? What if I CAN keep up?! What if I keep up and get more business? What if my paintings sell at both stores and I canâ€™t keep them stocked? What if I donâ€™t start collecting pieces for the markets and shows that I have applied to? What if?
I (not so secretly, but not so openly) dream about my art business supporting me and my family, providing the income we desire to maintain our quality of life, even surpass it, and allowing me to leave my part time day job to focus full time on my art business. But what will happen if this dream becomes a reality? I dream about all of the good things that could happen. But in truth, there are things that scare me about this success. What if I become so engulfed in my art that my family falls apart? What if I take the leap of faith I so desperately desire, only to land on my own two feet, strong yet alone? Is it worth the risk?
I donâ€™t know how to be successful, because I have always been lacking, and striving for more.Â But what would I do if I had the more I desire?Â The unknown is scary territory.Â Intimidating.Â For the higher one climbs, the farther the potential fall.Â And the more exposure, the greater the opportunity to be seen as a fraud, a fake, an imposter.Â The fear of judgement is something I have battled with all of my life. Sure, it bothers me much less now than it use to, but when I am vulnerable and sharing my heart and my true self, there is always the fear of not being enough as I am. That I always have to be more and do more.
Or what if I become so successful that my art becomes too much work? What if creating loses it’s joy and becomes just another task on my to-do list? What if I lose my sense of wonder and play and life purpose because I get too big for my britches? What if this is just anther season in my life’s path and not my passion and purpose as I feel it is now? Will I have wasted my time and money? And who am I to think that I can succeed, anyways? Maybe I am better to stay small.
My affirmation or mantra for 2019 is “Shine Fearlessly”. Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to officially run the Boston marathon 52 years ago, and founder of 261 Fearless, says that to be fearless is not to live without fear, but to be afraid and then do it anyways. This speaks to the opening quote. I believe that I am ready to shine, even when I am afraid of the light, I will continue to shine, fearlessly.
I just want to share a little excerpt from a writing exercise I did, literally a few days before being introduced to this quote. I was writing a love letter to myself. It ended with the following:
“Now go forward and chase your dreams! You can feel it, you can have them all! Be brave. Shine fearlessly. Now is your time to step into the light. Stop making yourself small. You are not invisible. You are meant to shine.”
I am ready to walk into my light, and inspire others to do the same. What are you afraid of that you are willing to face head on?