When Fear Masquerades as Responsibility
Being responsible is good, right?
I was raised to believe that being responsible was a pretty important quality to possess—and likely you were, too— but fear is a clever bastard and can take something that we perceive as “good” and use it to keep us stuck in old patterns.
Think about some of the words that we use that seem to be the opposite of responsible like unrealistic, impractical, dreamy, reckless, impulsive, lax or lazy…have you ever used one of those words to talk yourself out of something that you really wanted to do?
Amber is a client of mine who works as a CPA. She has a “good” job except that she hates it. I mean, she literally makes herself sick physically and mentally, staying in a job where she doesn’t feel valued at all as an individual and doing work that doesn't excite her.
A few years ago, Amber was introduced to Reiki. At first, she thought it was all a little *woo woo*, but she was curious and she started taking classes and eventually became a certified Reiki practitioner. Amber is super passionate about what she has learned—her face totally lights up when she talks about it—but she finds it difficult to believe that she can translate her passion into a living.
Amber dreams of leaving her CPA job and practicing Reiki, but that feels irresponsible to her. Her CPA job is secure; after all, it provides a steady paycheck and benefits. So Amber keeps telling herself that leaving to follow her dreams would be impractical and reckless. Even though Amber is aware of other Reiki practitioners who are quite successful, she can't shake the idea that it 's unrealistic for her.
Maybe we place too much value on being realistic.
I know I've spent periods of my life letting fear hold me back from going after my dreams. Not only was I afraid that what I really wanted was unrealistic, but I was getting feedback from others that confirmed my fears. It took me becoming really, really unhappy before I was willing to risk letting go of the security of "responsibility".
Think of someone whom you believe has a dream life, the kind of life that you would love to have but feel it is somehow out of your reach...was that lifestyle achieved by being practical and playing it safe? Maybe. But most people who are living their dreams took some risks to get there—they willingly stepped outside of the *responsible box* and went rogue.
Where is that line between risk and responsibility that is the optimal place for action? Who knows!?
That's the truth.
Nothing is inherently secure, and I've seen people sacrifice what they deeply desire for the illusion of security and have it all fall apart. I've also seen people take some pretty wild leaps and have things work out with seeming ease.
We all have a choice, of course, but in my opinion, if you're not happy with how your life is looking, the only option is change. Yep, you may risk losing what you don't really like, but isn't that a risk you're willing to take?