Fear keeps us small.

I will explain what you’re about to see, below.

I’ve always believed that fear keeps us small.  It limits our vision. It keeps our breath shallow.  Rather than allowing us to delve into the moment and appreciate the way the light so elegantly falls onto the scene in front of us, it keeps us fixated on often irrelevant and imagined things.

A big part of my life philosophy is to try and recognize areas of fear in my life and confront them. Whether that be gradually such as correcting my bad posture because of social anxiety, or radically like tackling my fear of skydiving by, well, skydiving!

However, sometimes defense mechanisms built and reinforced over the span of years keep us blind to that which is right in front of us.

I had a healthy reminder of this the other day with singing.

I’ve always liked to sing, but I’ve never felt confident about my singing. Most family and friends have poked fun at my bad singing, which of course never helps.

But then, several days ago, I got a taste of freedom from the singing anxiety prison that I’ve been living in all these years. And it was glorious.

During this moment of absolute freedom, I had two major realizations about myself and singing.

The first was that I was too focused on other people’s reactions while I sang. I gave them the power to accept me or reject me, and I would live with their arbitrary verdict.  Wastefully, I gave all of this conscious energy to monitoring someone’s reaction instead of dedicating my energy to singing, which leads me to the second reason:  I didn’t fully use my diaphragm to support my air flow, which made my singing worse and kind of perpetuated the cycle.

So several nights ago, I was hanging out with my friend Joao, and we were jamming together. Somehow, it was in that moment I realized I needed to conquer my fears, and I cut my ties with my anxiety about singing.  I was finally present. As he strummed his guitar to a reggae beat, I started to sing, and it was beautiful. I’ve never felt so connected to another musician like that before. Everything felt so right about every note we played together. I quickly grabbed a pen and jotted down the words that I felt in that moment.

I now know I can sing. Hell, I know I’m not the best singer, but now I have the confidence to stop worrying about what others are thinking about me and just let it happen.

Below are the lyrics that I wrote:

” Don’t forget that one day you’ll die,

No more time for experience,

I say to you, live in the present,

Life is too short to dwell on resentment,

Stand up,

Stand up tall,

Breathe in,

Breathe it all,

Now is the moment,

Snatch it and hold it,

Stand up,

Don’t wait ’til you’re old and die

Life is good,

Life is bad,

Pass no judgements

There’s fun to be had

Stand up,

Stand up tall,

Breathe in,

Breathe it all,

Now is the moment,

Snatch it and hold it,

Stand up,

Don’t wait ’til you’re old and die.”

Ask yourself today, “What is keeping me small?”


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