Breaking Free from Self-Doubt
by Saundra Berry, C.Ht.
There are many people that feel as though they are caught in a prison of fear and self-doubt. Many believe that they have been fighting all of their lives to break free from those chains. There is a fear of the unknown that keeps people stuck in this paradigm and it can be scary to let go of that feeling if you are in the midst of it. Why is it that so many do not fully recognize and realize their own self-worth? If you are suffering through feeling as though you have to break free from the oppression of fear and self-doubt I would like to share this story.
In 1975, I was fourteen years old and in junior high. One night, I was invited for a sleepover at a friend’s home. I went to the sleepover and after hanging with the girls for a bit, I ended up sitting in the living room talking to the father of the girl throwing the party. After talking for a short while, the man said that he had something he wanted to give me. He went over to the book shelf and ran his finger over the spines of the books until he found the one he was looking for, it was a book by William H. Danforth called, “I Dare You”. He handed me the book and told me that he thought I would enjoy it, and he told me to keep it. I thanked him for his time, and the gift, and went back to the sleepover party.
Over the next few days, every time I would walk by my dresser I would see the book. I was not much of a reader in those days and dreaded another thing that I would have to read, but for some reason that day, I decided to at least start the book. On the very first page it says, “This is not a book to be left on a shelf to collect dust. Its purpose is to be passed on to many others so that each will be dared to STAND TALL, SMILE TALL, THINK TALL, and LIVE TALL.” It went on to say, “Pass it along to ten friends, preferably young people who are ambitious to be leaders.” At the time, I remember thinking about that last line, “Young people who are ambitious to be leaders.” I never thought of myself as a leader, in fact, there was nothing further from the truth. The truth of the matter is that I always felt a bit out of place and certainly didn’t feel that anyone thought that I had leadership qualities, not even me.
As I lay on my bed reading, I began to feel as though the message was being directed to me personally. I had felt all of those feelings, thought all of those things, and this book promised a new way, if I would consider it a challenge or a dare to be a better person. One of the “dares” was this, “I dare you, whoever you are, to share with others the fruits of your daring. Catch a passion for helping others and a richer life will come back to you!” That really struck a chord in me, so much so, that I continued reading and before I new it I had finished the entire book. I felt a sense of pride at my completion of the book. Up to that point, I only read what was assigned and I really didn’t like reading. Now I realize that I had never read a book that was so inspiring or thought provoking. If more of our assigned reading prompted the feeling that I got from that book, I would have read more often!
Suffice it to say, at fourteen, I really didn’t know how that short conversation with my friends dad, and him giving me that book, would shape my then and future life. Yes, that book changed me and although I was still somewhat stuck in not always feeling “good enough”; those dares gave me the drive to strive, to be a better person. It challenged my “small town” mindset and gave me the push that I needed to make the choices that I have made throughout my life. It gave me courage and allowed me to dream and over time, gave me the courage that I needed to believe in myself.
I began to look at each of life’s challenge as a dare to be a better person. I, like everyone, have experienced my good and bad days, weeks, and months, but, I never gave up on my goals or dreams, even in the darkest of circumstances. I dreamed of being a musician, writing songs that would help and inspire others, and I accomplished my dream. I dreamed of having a job where all of my unique talents would be needed, and I became a teacher, working with junior high and high school girls. I dreamed of a job where I could be surrounded by artistic people, and I worked for almost twenty years in television production. I dreamed of being of service to others and went to school to be a hypnotherapist and I enjoy serving others in this way. I dreamed of being a published author and now I am. My point is that we can all have dreams, many dreams, but they can only be realized if we believe in ourselves; if we believe in our abilities and are willing to work, our dreams CAN and WILL be realized. However, the first step in realizing our dreams are to embrace our unique talents and gifts, and to do that, we must believe in ourselves! It doesn’t matter what anyone has told you about who they “think” you are or what they “think” you are capable or not capable of doing. What truly matters is what you think!
So, you, sitting at your computer, I dare you to dream! I dare you to challenge those that say that you are unworthy. I dare you to know that you are the only one that can change your life! If you are unhappy, I dare you to make a change to make it better. I dare you to challenge your beliefs if you feel that you are unworthy of life’s gifts. I dare you to trust that you are the key that you have been searching for. I dare you to be healthy, happy, and whole. I dare you to know and trust that you have what it takes to realize and live your goals and dreams. I am sending you this message because I know that you have amazing gifts, whether you have realized them or not, and you can change the world with the knowledge that you have inside of you, all you have to do is believe it is so and go about your life working toward your goals and dreams everyday. Be relentless! Be bold! Have courage! YOU are an amazing person and you have what it takes!
I dare you to believe in yourself!
In love and light,
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