Do What You’re Afraid Of

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It was shortly after New Year’s Day, nine long years ago, that I got the talk. The divorced guys know the talk. It’s always some variation on “I love you, but I am not in love with you.”

I was thirty-nine, and terrified.

After the customary period of moping around, I realized that, at some point, I was going to get over her betrayal. Realizing the inevitability of overcoming gave me the power to face the challenges every day brought, and every day brought some. Her lawyer tried to humiliate me. Her family spread horrible rumors about me. I lost most of my friends. I kept it together because I knew, someday, I’d have forgotten her.

While my ex-wife tried to destroy me, she actually gave me the greatest gift that anyone could ever give me. She gave me the template to overcome any obstacle.

Most of us have reasonable fears. Fear keeps us alive and out of trouble. Some of our fears aren’t reasonable. These sorts of fears keep us in bad relationships, they keep us from growing. Unreasonable fears keep you from being the man you were born to become.

If you are afraid of something, ask yourself why. Often the reason will be nebulous and ill-defined. Ask yourself what is the worst consequence of your fear.

I used to be afraid of heights. I also used to be a roofer. My fear of heights motivated me to finish school and get a real job; but in the interim, it also kept me from becoming the best roofer I could have been.

After my divorce, I went skydiving. That fear was not entirely unreasonable. A fear of great heights is legitimate.

It’s possible I could have died, when I left the plane. If I’d have died, then I’d have done so boldly facing my greatest fear. I didn’t die. I twisted my ankle, and it was fine a week later. In return, I have the knowledge that I overcame.

Every man’s imperative is to become his best self. If fear is impeding your progress toward this destination, then do what you’re afraid of.

7 thoughts on “Do What You’re Afraid Of”

  1. I didn’t have fears .. other than not living up to my number 1 (birth order) family status.

    And, I agree, do not let irrational fear rule your life. Life is, of course, dangerous. Live it to your fullest.

    I hate you had to go thru hell to get to the other side ..

    But if we live like Winston Churchill described, for England, over a few speeches .. I feel we’ve got fear whooped!

    Churchill’s first speech to the British people as PM laid out his program bluntly, “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” He followed that with another speech shortly thereafter: “. . . we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”

    In other words, his plan for success: Complete and total defiance.

    “We shall never surrender.” When you have nothing left but defiance, commit to it with everything you have. Like Prince Hal in Shakespeare’s Henry V, Churchill used language to rouse the fighting spirit he believed was still alive in the British people, saying, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” And the line that summed up his personal career and the spirit that led the British people to victory: “Never, never, never give up.”

    Churchill would later describe what he did this way, “It was the nation and the race dwelling all round the globe that had the lion’s heart. I had the luck to be called upon to give the roar.”

    (1)

    (1) https://www.forbes.com/sites/geoffloftus/2012/05/09/if-youre-going-through-hell-keep-going-winston-churchill/

  2. “I love you, but I am not in love with you.”
    Every last word of that sentence is self delusion.

    She tried to fill up a God shaped vacuum in her life with a man, and when she didn’t feel completed she decided to either give up or try stuffing a different man into God’s place.

    If she was more self aware, She should have said; “I’m selfish, and I want to try fulfilling my need for the divine, at the expense of yet another man.”

  3. “I love you, but I am not in love with you.”

    A woman who says this is being driven by her delusional, irrational, conflicting feelings.

    If my wife ever said this to me, I would remind her that when she married me love was a decision, and it still is. I’m sure there have been many moments when she felt like she didn’t love me over the years. We’ve had five kids, some of them quite difficult. There have been, and continue to be, roadblocks along the way.

    I’ve always wondered what percentage of divorces happen because of a woman who entered the marriage treating love as a feeling and not explicitly as a decision, a choice.

    A few weeks ago when the Dalrock and others were alight with conversations about men or women pursuing each other, I pointed out that I pursued my wife. When she decided to marry me, it was because she was convinced by me. She made a choice. I know what her feelings were and I know what her rational thoughts were, so I can say this without a doubt. Comparatively, a woman who pursues a man, driven by her feelings, is not going to have a long-lasting marriage when those feelings inevitably change.

  4. I’ve always wondered what percentage of divorces happen because of a woman who entered the marriage treating love as a feeling and not explicitly as a decision, a choice.

    Probably 95%.

  5. Comparatively, a woman who pursues a man, driven by her feelings, is not going to have a long-lasting marriage when those feelings inevitably change.

    It’s not really about who pursues who…it’s if the marriage is based off choosing your particular feelings or treating it like the choice to commitment it is. A man strictly pursuing a woman for marriage based off his feelings isn’t going to have much success either…they are called simps.

    I’ve pursued women I thought were marriage worthy but they revealed just how little they wanted to choose to get married…and I’ve had 3 male friends tell me the similar story that their wife REALLY wanted to marry them…and they are still married.

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