How many times in your life have you not done something because you were afraid someone would judge you, think you were not worthy, crush your dreams, your spirit, your heart, or see who you really are? I’m pretty sure everyone has had at least one experience where someone else stole the joy from something they enjoyed doing. Let me tell you about one of my experiences with this, and what you can do with similar experiences of your own.
My teenage son had always wanted to do karate, so when the local YMCA offered a class I decided to sign us both up. We both loved it from the start. After several classes, the sensei told my son he was welcome to join the main dojo to take classes. He did not extend the invitation to me. He repeated the invitation to my son several more times, so we decided to go see the dojo. There were classes for younger children, teens, and adults. The teens were also invited to the adult class. We both signed up and my six-year adventure in martial arts began, but I also had my first real experience with a toxic situation. I never considered not doing karate because of my age, but the sensei made comments all the time about my age, and that I was going to have to take my age into account. Most of the time these comments as well as comments about my weight(I weigh 129) were said when no one else could hear. Some of the things that occurred should have shown me he was crazy, but I didn’t want to stop because I loved Karate. My son left after receiving his purple belt because he saw the crazy, and I finally left because my family was afraid for my safety. It was not the best experience, but I learned so much about protecting myself, and if I had listened to the judgment and rejection of the sensei I would have missed out on so much.
The first time I went to an ultra-marathon I was sure they would realize I wasn’t good enough to be there. I heard them talking about races they had done with names like Snakebite 100, or The Death Canyon run, and I was ready to get back in the car, but once the race started I realized that all types of fitness levels were welcome at these races. If I had not stepped out of my comfort zone I would never experience the race that is now my favorite.
What is fear holding you back from doing? What is the worse that can happen if you don’t succeed? The greatest freedom is when you no longer care what someone thinks anymore. You will never please anyone and people will judge you no matter what. So what? Do something fun or epic that you never thought you could do and then celebrate when you make the impossible possible. Take off your bubble wrap and start living. The scars and bruises we get in life give us glorious stories to share.
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