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Blank Space: What Are You So Afraid Of?

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Getting out of the car, some friends and I follow the signs to the path’s entrance. In a few hours, we’ll come back exhausted from the climb, but for now it’s mission critical and we’ve got one objective: escape the world (I mean literally, we call them “Escape the World” days). Tucking our phones away, we begin our ascension into the beautiful unknown.

Eventually, we round a corner and look left to discover a clear view of where we’ve come from and where we’re going. A sea of trees draws us closer until we gasp in surprise. This clearing doesn’t just reveal an incredible view. It reveals something else, also incredible but in a completely different way. It reveals the cliff’s edge, the edge that had we taken one step further, would’ve watched as we fell.

That is what I’m so afraid of.

The adventure is exciting and the thrill mesmerizing, but the risk of losing it all, the idea of a moment where one step could change everything…that sends chills down my spine.

That’s what intimacy sounds like to most of us. Dating can be exciting and long-term relationships often seem like the pinnacle. But the bravery it takes to step near the edge and remain there, even when it means experiencing a beautiful and potentially unforgettable view, is downright terrifying.

This is what I’m getting at:

Oftentimes, we work toward a goal only to reach it and then become paralyzed in fear. As soon as we hit our mark, the pressure sets in. Maybe it’s the fear of maintaining success or of dealing with consequences we didn’t expect.

Oftentimes, when we hit our mark and the responsibility/pressure of it all sets in, we’re so distracted that we can’t enjoy the very moment we’ve been working toward. We can’t pause to simply take a breath and enjoy the view.

When this happens, the unforgettable moments get compromised and we set back down the mountain hoping that one day we might get another chance, when really, we’re the reason that mountaintop moment wasn’t enough.

If I’m honest, that’s me. I imagine it’s also many of you. In relationships (whether it’s with friends, in dating or otherwise) we push the self-destruct button in order to minimize risk, pain, hurt, etc. When it seems we finally have the thing we wanted, when it seems things might be good, maybe even great…we raise a flag, we walk away, we do anything in order to get down the mountain and safely back home.

So that’s my challenge to myself and to you—to stay brave. When it gets scary, I want to be aware of what makes me tempted to take off running. I want to know how to fight the fear within and to stay brave. In all of our relationships, let’s learn to truly enjoy the adventure and in that, to recognize our fears and bravely face them.

Because the beautiful views and the unforgettable moments aren’t in the safety of our cars and homes. They can’t be found at the start of the climb. Glimpses from the middle of the forest aren’t enough. No, the truest beauty won’t be found until we’re willing to courageously keep walking, meet the edge and remain there.

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