I am a little late on the “New Year’s resolution,” le sigh. But it’s never too late to make a change. Inspired by author Laura Lippman, who every New Year’s picks just one word as her resolution for the coming year, I decided to do the same.
I wanted a word that would have impact; one that would compel me to make changes in my life. For changes to occur, however, I would first have to let go of certain fears that have kept me from being the person that I really am. So my word for 2015 became “fearless.” In other words, to live a life “free from fear.” Obviously you can’t completely rid yourself of fear; it is a natural behavior response. Also, for me, being fearless doesn’t mean you are not afraid of anything. It means not letting fear control your life.
In the past years my decisions were made in a confined state of fear. So afraid of being hurt I suppressed my feelings and held back my emotions to protect myself. I made it difficult for someone to like or love me, as they were tested at every corner. As you can imagine this limited my potential relationships and caused me to make bad impressions and push people away, inevitably hurting them. I have begun to realize that vulnerability is not a negative trait, and that I can take my fears and anxieties and turn them into strengths. It’s a liberating feeling to realize you aren’t that voice in your head.
I’m now trying not only to become aware of that fear but also to accept and move forward in spite of it. Loving myself has allowed me to love others. Learning what love is not has helped me to learn more about what love is. Instead of testing people in my life, I now try to grant them access allowing me to trust them.
Last, and most important, I believe that being fearless is the foundation of having courage, which Aristotle believed was “the greatest quality of the mind.” And as C.S. Lewis so brilliantly put it, “courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point,” which means at the point of highest reality.
Now I wish to live a life where my actions are not influenced by my fears. If you aren’t happy with the life you’re living I hope you have the courage to change it.