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Saying Yes to Life

November 29, 2010

photo by D Sander


“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.

You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”

~ Eleanor Roosevelt

It’s not always easy to figure out why people do what they do, especially when that person is ourselves. Despite our best efforts many of us find that we are forever getting off, what we think is, the “right track”. Too often we take carefully calculated steps when what we really need to do is to go with our gut, not our mind. However, we are afraid to trust the directives of our heart and soul.

I recently read about a study that can give us a clue into one of the reasons why we may not trust ourselves. In the study, a group of babies who could crawl but not yet walk, were placed on a glass platform. Part of the platform was on top of solid ground but as they crawled forward they crossed onto a glass floor that was transparent. As you may know, we are born with a fear of falling. Across the room, the baby’s mothers were divided into two groups. One group of mothers was told to smile encouragingly to her child. The other group of mothers was to frown and look fearful. Neither was to speak. In all instances the babies whose mothers looked at them with encouragement and smiles continued out onto the transparent glass flooring despite the normal fear of falling. The others did not.

How our parents responded to us, even as early as infancy, either reinforces our fears or sets us free. If your mother was particularly fearful, like mine, you may have received a multitude of signals that have made it difficult for you to move into dangerous territory with ease and confidence. This, however, does not mean you cannot do so. It just means you’ll have to work a little harder at it. Recognizing that what we feel when faced with a new challenge is simply fear of the unknown can help give us the reassurance that we did not receive as children.

Our fears may take a variety of forms. It may even give us false messages about what we really want to do. We may mistake these messages for our inner voice. They are very powerful. One easy way to tell if what you are hearing is fear or your inner voice is to ask yourself this question when making a decision about a step to take. Does this step “say yes to life?”  Fear closes doors it does not open them. Fear keeps us stuck. Saying yes moves us forward. Even if we realize in time that the step was not the right one, we will have learned something about ourselves in the process and grown in confidence.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. November 29, 2010 10:35 pm

    An excellent article Dorothy- I can really relate to many of the points you’ve made !

    • December 1, 2010 6:52 pm

      Thanks for dropping in! It’s always good to see you here. I just visited your site the other day ~ always good stuff there as well.

  2. November 29, 2010 11:23 pm

    I learn something new each day. I was unaware we were born with any fears. Funny it would be a fear of falling. I believed I had a fear of heights, so I climbed every mountain/rock formation where every I went, no fear, I paraglided off the Alps in Switzerland, walked the Sky Walk, went to the top of the Sears bldg. no fear. Yet, when my sister paid for me to “free fall” with a parachute (jump) I could not do it. That’s when I said “no, I will climb, I will fly, I will not intentionally fall”… I was fortunate, however, my mother always said I could do anything and she was right. Loved this!

    • December 1, 2010 6:56 pm

      Scientists have determined that we are born with only two fears – the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. Now they may change their minds next week! but if what they say is true, the rest of our fears are just those we’ve learned from life. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

  3. November 30, 2010 2:58 am

    Dorothy –

    This is WONDERFULLY INSIGHTFUL advice! Just what I needed to hear today. Thank you so much for sharing this! Blessings to you! ^_^

    • December 1, 2010 6:57 pm

      Thanks for your comment Diane. I’m so glad my ramblings meant something to you! 🙂 and I always appreciate your feedback.

  4. November 30, 2010 1:39 pm

    Dorothy –
    A colleague and I renewed a friendship yesterday and we were talking about this exact idea. I’m debating whether to take a leap to be purposely “homeless” for a while in order to travel around and she’s looking for a way to earn more income on her terms. We agreed that life is short and saying yes is the key – thanks for the reinforcement! (I couldn’t wedge in time to meet you this trip to RTP but I’ll be back after the new year.)

  5. December 1, 2010 5:39 pm

    Thanks for this perspective, Dorothy. Great timing for me. My father was even more fearful than my mother, I think. And I do, indeed, have to work harder to move forward in the face of my fears. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don’t.

    Saying yes to life is a great way to live fully!

    • December 1, 2010 7:00 pm

      Good to see you here Bonnie. Both of my parents were fearful but in different ways. Who isn’t? Not many. For me I guess it’s trying to find a honest connection to the original fear that may be holding me back ~ they can become so convoluted over the years. Understanding the original fear makes it a bit easier to process. Do you ever listen to Louise Hay?

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