Recently, scrolling through Facebook, this statement caught my attention: “We don’t need to be wise beyond our years. All we need is to be wise beyond our fears.”
I’m well acquainted with the assertion of being wise beyond one’s years. Sometimes the same sentient is expressed by saying someone is an “old soul.” But the idea of being wise beyond one’s fears made me stop and think.
As I considered the two statements, the thing that stood out the most was the level of empowerment each one offered. You don’t necessarily have control over whether you’re wise beyond your years. It’s something that’s bestowed on you through circumstance and genetic makeup. Being wise beyond your fears, on the other hand, is about conscious choice.
That idea appeals to me. It moves you from victim energy to liberation, from being chosen to consciously choosing.
Wisdom involves using knowledge and experiences to make good judgements and decisions. What does that have to do with fear? Wisdom also involves having a tolerance for the uncertainties of life.
If you cling to what’s familiar, you may find yourself making decisions that help you avoid the unknown, even if it isn’t a wise choice.
How many people stay in relationships or jobs they don’t feel good about, or vacation in the same place every year? If that sounds like you, rest assured you’re not alone.
What motivates this behaviour? A fear that there might not be anything better than what you currently have. It encourages you to settle rather than reaching for the stars. This is part of what’s known as a “scarcity mindset.” Society has convinced many of us the things we value most, like loving relationships, jobs where we’re valued and happiness are rare. They are limited to a few lucky people and sadly we aren’t the few fortunate ones. This subconscious belief encourages you to hang onto what you’ve got. It doesn’t matter if you’re spending time with people who treat you badly or are in a job that’s slowly killing you, at least you have a friend and a paycheque. It could be worse.
Believing you aren’t worthy of anything better than what you presently have, can keep you stuck in mediocrity. Having a scarcity mentality isn’t only limiting, it can be downright dangerous to your mental health. It’s part of a vicious cycle that involves your self-esteem. Low self-esteem causes mental scarcity, which, in turn, teaches you to think less of yourself.
Breaking this cycle is often easier said than done. At the heart of a scarcity mindset is the belief that you don’t deserve or can’t have more. In order to fight that thought you need to disprove it. In my experience, the best way to do that is to work towards outcome independence. Outcome independence is exactly what it sounds like. It involves becoming liberated from making decisions based on desired outcomes and instead focusing on the experience that results from your choice.
Like scarcity, outcome independence is a mindset. If you believe losing what you have is the worst thing that could happen, you’ll put all your time and energy into hanging on to whatever you’ve got. Your fear of being left with nothing will fuel that fire.
Lots of people are afraid to try something in case they fail to achieve their desired outcome. Dating without finding the person of your dreams may feel like a waste of time, or even embarrassing. But is it really?
Ask yourself what’s the worst thing that can happen? Is still being single after six months or a year of dating the end of the world? Have you actually lost anything? You may have new friends and memories as a result.
Outcome independence involves realizing you can cope without the things you’re afraid of losing. It fosters self-esteem because it helps you realize you can handle whatever comes your way, even if that involves your job or relationships.
The only way to truly understand this is to experience it. You need to fall to prove to yourself that you can get up. Once you accept this belief, an abundance mentality is an inevitable result.
That doesn’t mean the things that happen and the decisions you make won’t be difficult or leave you feeling hurt or upset. But when you know there are other opportunities out there, it’s easier to rebound or change directions.
If you want to live your best life, take a few minutes to consider whether fear is motivating your decisions. If it is, give outcome independence a try. It might be just what you need to find the wisdom that lives beyond your fear.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.