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Fearlessness doesn't come from being tough – it comes from being soft.

When Craig was a boy, he avoided most confrontations by holding both sides of difficult conversations in his head. If the conversation didn’t go well, it served to increase his anxiety about the situation, and he drew deeper into himself. If it did go well, he convinced himself that real life could never live up to his imagination and he was just setting himself up for disappointment.

Over the years, Craig’s anxiety grew and filled him up inside. He was scared of so many things. Every time he thought he was as full as he could get, the anxiety pulled itself tighter, to make room for more.

The anxiety was packed in so densely, that Craig feared he would burst. He knew he had to grow a thicker skin just to keep his insides in.

It worked!

His new, thicker skin was stronger by far. As his insides were packed tighter and tighter, Craig became harder and harder. Every time he feared the anxiety might split him at the seams, he would wrap another layer of protective skin around him.

Craig spent so many years protecting himself from the things he feared, and he no longer had to anything to fear at all.

Craig had achieved what he set out to. His dense, hard core was wrapped in impermeable armor. Nobody scared him, anymore. People feared him! Nothing could hurt him. He was bullet-proof. Nobody could touch him!

Nobody could touch him…

He wanted to be touched. He ached to be touched. He needed to be touched.

So, Craig spent many more years tearing it all back down again.

Pulling off the armor he spent so many years carefully crafting was far more terrifying than all the things he was trying to protect himself from in the first place. He had hidden so deep inside himself for so long, that he didn’t even know who he was anymore. He wasn’t even sure that anything of himself existed anymore deep within that impenetrable fortress. He was a fucking wreck.

He nearly gave up many times, but one thought kept him going… If there was even a sliver of himself left somewhere in that condensed mass, it was worth saving – if there isn’t he wasn’t alive anymore, anyway.

Each layer of skin he removed left the next layer more raw and tender than the last.

Everything hurt, all the time.
Everything was scary, all the time.
Everything was intense, all the time!

Each new layer of skin was also, he would eventually realize, another fear he faced and survived. Under each layer of skin he found another experience he denied himself because of those fears. With each new experience he finally started to get to know himself.

Everything was new, all the time.
Everything was exciting, all the time.
Everything was intense, all the time!

At some point on his journey to that gooey, pink center, Craig realized that he never could have achieved fearlessness through protecting himself – only through fully exposing himself.

Craig is not hard anymore. He doesn’t have to be, because he’s not scared anymore.

May 27, 2017, 11:14:03 am

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