What if I do it wrong, what if someone laughs at me, what if I fail, what if I look stupid, what if I look fat, what if I make a fool of myself, what if I spill food all over myself, what if I trip and fall, and what if I get lost on my way to where I'm going (oh yes, I get lost a lot).
Negative self-thoughts frequently come a-calling. I fight them and sometimes they win and sometimes my more confident self wins and I’m able to laugh away the negative feelings.
I want to be like Match.com man. He is fearless. Maybe it comes from being in the Army, but hearing family stories about him as a boy, I think he was always very confident and not held back by wondering what others thought.
Recently, I watched him walk up to a litterer and tell him to pick up his trash. The culprit had thrown out trash on a busy university sidewalk. The litterer resisted and Match.com man called him a dumbass and told him once again to pick it up. As a retired officer, perhaps he thought the man would obey with a salute and a yessir! But, the litterer took exception to being called a dumbass and fierce words were exchanged. Through the whole exchange, ironically, the wind blew the trash away. Match.com man was not happy and I’m thinking next time the young man will think twice about littering . At the end the spirited conversation, Match.com man just walked away shaking his head at all the dumbasses in the world. I had his back through the whole interchange even though it was from 25 feet away (ok, maybe more like 50!).
The point is Match.com man didn’t care what anyone thought. He wasn’t afraid of taking a stand and moving into action. It was nothing but a young man throwing trash on the sidewalk until Match.com man called it – someone doing something careless and thoughtless. What freedom it must be to stand in a place of not worrying about what others may say about you!
A few years ago, in my search to be free of being frozen by what others might think of me, I attended a class called Landmark Forum and came away with many useful ideas and tools for living a life full of possibilities. One of my favorite stories from the training is a story about three umpires.
Three umpires were walking together after being at a convention for baseball umpires. One of the umpires was a rookie, brand new to the game with only a few months experience. The second umpire was a journeyman who had been on the job for three years. And, the third umpire was a veteran, a real master of the game who had been an umpire for twenty years.
As they were talking, the rookie umpire said, “I know my job as an umpire. There’s this clear-cut, clearly defined strike zone and I look inside that strike zone. If the ball is there, it’s a strike. If it’s not there, it’s a ball. I call ‘em the way they are!”
The journeyman umpire, who had several years more experience than the rookie said, “Well, that’s all right, and that’s exactly the way I did it when I first started out – I looked inside the strike zone and did my best to call ‘em like they were. But after a couple of years, I realized that the best I could do is call ‘em like I see ‘em!”
Finally, the master umpire spoke up. “You know, when I was a young rookie starting out, I went through that period when I thought I could call ‘em the way they were. Then as I got more experience, I figured the only thing I could do was to call ‘em like I saw ‘em.
But now that I’ve been doing it for twenty years, I’ll tell you what – They ain’t nothing until I call ‘em!”
What if we could break long time thought patterns and habits just by thinking of them differently? Calling them another way?
You can choose to keep thinking the same way and play it safe, never venturing to swing at a pitch because you might make a mistake. Standing frozen with fear and doing nothing gets you nowhere but kicked off the team. You get to “ride the pine” and wishing you were in the game of life, but watching others play from the sideline, never taking a chance, never taking a risk, playing it safe and never being really happy or satisfied.
What if you’ve been calling yourself and your life a failure? I thought I was a huge failure because of my divorce and I carried that negative way of being around for a long time. Now I’m calling it one of the most freeing things to ever happen to me. It forced me to view myself and my life differently and I think I came out of the challenge a better, stronger, and more compassionate person.
Somewhere, somehow, I found the courage to take a swing at a different life. I created a different rule book, stepped down from the safety of the bleachers and started to be in the game of life. I decided to call a different game.
And, with the grace of God, after a few strike outs, I hit a huge, ever-loving, grand slam in the bottom of the ninth and now I’m jumping with joy. I have never been in a walking club before, let alone start one and to be with such a wonderful group of chicas is a never ending delight. I have never built or maintained a website before or had the courage to write a blog or walk in long races. I wished for but never believed I’d end up dating such a wonderful and caring man. It feels unbelievable and fantastic.
So now, I’m calling my life differently. I’m conquering all those niggling, haunting, sting-like-a-bee negative thoughts. I’m calling me successful, I’m calling me beautiful, voluptuous, fun, laughing and laughable, wonderful, exciting, loving and loved, and most importantly of all, I’m calling me fearless.
Life is exactly that. You’re the one who has the power to call how you live and it truly is nothing until you call it. What freedom is that! Anxiety be gone! No caring what others think! And, you know what, it works. Why? Because, it ain’t nothing until you call it.
Eventually, I just may call a dumbass a dumbass to their face and I won’t need to run like hell or have Match.com man watch my back, though it’s nice to have a pinch hitter waiting in the dugout.
My “it ain’t nothing until you call it” wishes for you.
You step out with fearlessness and see you have the power to know it ain’t nothing until you call it. Give up those old I’m a failure, I’m fat, I’m not pretty, no one loves me and other hurtful stories from the past – they’re only true if you call it so. What happens if you call them a success, a learning experience, a gift from the universe? They take on a completely different meaning. YOU HAVE THE POWER TO DO THAT!
You see how being frozen and safe leaves you less than you’re meant to be in life. Get up, move forward, don’t look back and start being in life’s game!
You live your game of life with power, courage, faith, joy, and laughter.
You remember that anything you resist, persists.
You live anxiety free. It’s an awesome state of being!
You take a chance – you may hit a grand slam. Think of all the people you’ll be impacting in a positive way and how they’ll jump with excitement and celebrate with you in a loving circle at home base. And, by taking that chance know that even if you strike out the loving circle of people will still be there!
And, may you have always have the courage to call a dumbass a dumbass.
Love it, own it and stand tall.
As always, with infinite love and gratitude,