“I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.”
— Cheryl Strayed (Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail)
When I read this line in the book Wild, it took my breath away, and I felt a deep sense of peace. After all I’ve been through and the challenges I’ve faced, the anxiety, fear, regrets, and doubts; my strength came when I told myself a different story than the one that had been holding me back.
First, I realized that I could work towards my goals despite feelings of anxiety. That was a big one for me. If I waited until I no longer felt afraid, I would still be waiting. I had to make the decision to work with the fear rather than resisting it. To let it be my friend and not my enemy. If I was going to feel anxious any way, I might as well be doing something worthwhile while I was feeling anxious.
The second realization was that I don’t need anyone else’s approval, and I don’t need to have all of those regrets. I am who I am today just as much because of the mistakes I’ve made as I am because of my successes.
I am safe, strong, and brave today.