Lately I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the idea of risk-taking. As a naturally anxious person I’m not the most instinctual of risk takers. If I could, I would spend the majority of my time sitting in the poetry section of my favorite bookstore, cross-legged on the ground, like a creepy poetry-crab blocking the aisle.
But I also know a lot of life’s most sparkling moments, those times when it feels like your skin is a little too close to a fire, come when you’re taking a risk. As my great-grandmother used to say and by “used to say” I mean I’m making this up since I never met her and I like to pretend my Italian great-grandmother gives me advice from beyond the grave: “If you’re not dead you better start living.”
In the name of your heart, in the name of love, start taking these risks:
- Risk being misunderstood. Speak from your heart and speak your truths. While you can’t control whether or not someone understands you, you do get to control how honest you are.
- Risk feeling uncomfortable. When you are starting something new, something outside your comfort zone, you might feel misalignment with your routine. This is okay. Show yourself patience.
- Risk being disliked. Many of us spend a lot of time worrying if someone is mad at us, if something we said was okay, or if standing by our principals will “bother” someone. Stand your ground.
- Risk being vulnerable. Sharing yourself with another person opens you up to being hurt. Shit sucks. But don’t let that stop you from discovering your own strength within vulnerability.
- Risk being invisible. Sometimes, no matter how much you wave your arms or shout or quote Taylor Swift lyrics, you remain invisible to someone. Know you deserve to be seen and move on if you aren’t.
- Risk your time. Whether you are beginning a new relationship and see your alone time shrinking or your exiting a relationship and see your alone time expanding, you will need to risk your time in one way or another for love.
- Risk happiness. As you continue to shape and define what equals joy in life, often our darkest and most challenging moments are what help us find the best definitions of happiness. Try your best to be grateful in the face of unhappiness, knowing it is bringing you closer to understanding what is happiness.
I will continue to silently sit in bookstores, curled between pages like a word-barnacle, but I also know I need to continue taking risks in order to live a full life. The only way to test the thickness of your skin is by stepping out of your shell (my great-grandmother would have totally said something like that).