What are you so afraid of?

This past Sunday, I spent the day at a workshop led by my awesome mentor, Karen Schachter. For eight hours, 50 women explored what it means to be “brave,” to identify our true desire and find the courage to go after it. There was laughter, tears, some mildly frank language and lots of “hiving”—how Karen describes deep, limbic, healing connection.

For a newcomer to group hugs (where have I been?!), it was an extraordinary experience and it made me wonder: why do we hold ourselves back? Why do we play yes-(wo)men to others’ dreams and ambitions but say no our own?

What are we so afraid of?

Call it culture. Call it tradition. Call it upbringing. We learn early that it’s not ladylike to promote ourselves. That when we’re good at something (or many things), talking about it will make someone else feel bad (as though somehow we have control over others’ state of mind). That wanting for ourselves is wrong.

Desire denied feeds fear. Fear of disappointment, hurting others, failure. We fear our own success. We’re afraid of not being perfect, of living up to our own or others’ standards or expectations.

We get in our own way. Stuck.

Don’t go there! Get over your sweet { self } and go after your dreams. Hold on to them even when there are setbacks. Take one small step after the other and move forward. You are stronger and more worthy than you think. You can do it.

In the words of one of our greatest presidents, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.