Eleanor Roosevelt said “do one thing every day that
scares you.” Sometimes, for me,
that’s just looking in the mirror when I roll out of bed sleep deprived,
stressed out and facing a long day with a ton of work in front of
But that’s not what she meant.
What I think this courageous woman meant was to challenge yourself to do
that which you never thought you had the courage to do. She meant be brave, be
decisive, take a stand, and meet that frightening thing head on.
I decided to take her up on her challenge.
I haven’t done one thing every day that scares me because a few things,
in my opinion, carry over a few days.
They were that big!
First, I removed my daughter from public school. There were a lot of reasons leading up
to this decision; but I have felt like the school’s been failing her for a long
time. Unfortunately, as a single
parent, I didn’t know what to do with her. I can’t afford private school and I
have to work during the day. But a
series of events finally collided and I made an intuitive, one-second, with my
heart decision to pull her out. I
didn’t know what I was going to do; but I knew she couldn’t go back there one
more day. I made the decision to
home school her for the rest of the year.
That one, I think, should fulfill the scare yourself requirements
for at least a week!
Then I had to make a big request of my boss. I never like doing this. I always feel
“not good enough” and make excuses or pile things upon myself instead of asking
for what I need. But this time, I asked for the permission to telecommute for
until the middle of June. That
scared me a lot. What if she said no? What if, worse, she said that I was a pain
in the ass and they didn’t need me anymore? I’ve had my share of challenges since I
started there and she’s been so gracious when I needed to tend to a sick kid but
what if enough was enough? Yet, I
scared myself and I asked. She
said yes. Problem solved!
Over the course of the next few weeks, I said no to several
invitations because I just didn’t have the ability in me to socialize. Before, I would have agreed and tried
to muster up the oomph to glam up and head out. This time I didn’t.
I said no and made no excuses. I made choices that scared me, I said no
to a lot of things and agreed to others.
I refused to be goaded. I
wrote without having a client request.
I flirted back. I trusted
And, that scary woman looking back at me in the mirror
today? Well, let’s just say I like her a whole helluva lot more!
I can’t remember where I read it; but it went something like this: A patient of Dr. Carl Jung walked into Jung’s office and morosely announced “Dr. Jung, I just lost my job.” The doctor replied “Congratulations!”
Dr. Jung knew that acceptance is the key to serenity, the key to joy, and the key to peace. It is often difficult to grasp that, whatever is happening right now, is exactly the way it is supposed to be. Sometimes we experience acceptance with resignation. We might say “ah, well, it is what it is” and sadly resign ourselves to our fate. But I think there is a better way.
We can choose to experience acceptance with a sense of amazement. We don’t have to dread the unknown as long as we have faith and trust that everything will work out as it is supposed to. When people come in or out of our lives, accept that sometimes we have people for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Those who are here for a reason or a season will come and they will go. If we are lucky, we will hear the message that they were supposed to bring.
We will be hired, we might be fired. Companies will lay-off and perhaps close down all together. We might be lucky and find one lifelong love. We might be even luckier and find several. Love might come in strange packages - a pet we rescue (maybe two) or from a child who had been waiting to hear the most wonderful words “you are being adopted.” Or from new friends or old, estranged family members or a next door neighbor whom we never had the extra minute to get to know.
How marvelous it is to wonder where the next good thing might come from instead of peeking around corners with dread because we are always expecting bad news. Expect the good instead. Practice acceptance with amazement and let the good times roll!