I’ll begin today with a quote from the Bard himself, William Shakespeare, from the play, Julius Caesar:
“A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once. It seems to me most strange that men should fear, seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come.”
Whilst perhaps today this quote can be taken less literally than when spoken by Julius Caesar, it’s no less relevant or meaningful.
In essence, Shakespeare is reminding us that those who live bravely; who face their fears with courage, despite their fears; only feel the pain of death once.
Those who let their fears rule them; who fail to stand up for themselves or others; who hide away and avoid people, places, things that worry them; feel the pain of death a million times over.
I know. I’ve been there.
I’ve spent more than my life avoiding fearful situations than I have facing them. The irony here is that I was so focused on avoiding potential emotional pain, that I actively caused it. I made it happen.
Every single time I didn’t go to a party; didn’t speak out when I wanted to; pretended not to see someone because I couldn’t face an awkward chat; I felt the pain and anguish of disappointment in my gut.
I liked myself a little less.
Pain in life is inevitable. Really, it’s just a case of deciding which pain you’d rather endure.
Would you rather face the pain of nervous feelings and potential for failure?
Or would you rather feel the much more definite pain that comes with avoidance and cowardice?
The choice is yours.