I am taking more risks right now. I'm speaking out where I used to remain silent, too afraid of what people would think, or worried that my words would be misconstrued. I'm learning that there is a price to standing up for yourself or for someone else, and I'm reaching a point in my life where I am finally willing to pay it.
Being liked should never be our highest goal. It's better to be loved for who we really are by a handful of people than be liked by the masses because we are doing everything possible to fly under the radar and fit in with the crowd.
I have walked the path of group acceptance and found it wanting. I thought that I could not survive if people did not like me but it turns out that I can. I am still breathing, and over time I recognize that I feel happier and more peaceful without having to fulfill so many relationship demands.
I have cut myself free from the choking cords of everyone's expectations on me. I no longer need to be universally liked, and that has been the most liberating discovery of my life.
When we take a risk, our reputation and our relationships are always on the line. Thought and care must go into each decision we make and we also need to offer ourselves grace to make mistakes. As Bill Cosby once said, "I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."
If you are hoping for a model to follow for risk-taking, you won't find one. It's about stepping out on your own, to try something new, and even if no one is with you, it's important to be true to yourself and your beliefs.
It is possible to blaze your own trail in this life. You are an original, so don't settle for any old imitation personality. Stop waiting for someone to approve you. Be who you really are and let that be your guide.
When I see something happening which is cruel and hurtful to myself or someone else, I am beginning to speak out. Then I must let the chips fall where they may and live with the consequences of my actions.
I am responsible to leave my kids a footprint to guide them as they make their own relationship choices. I want to be deliberate about this, choosing positive attitudes over negative ones, carefully deciding when to speak and when to remain silent, and being kind instead of mean as much as possible.
All of this is a work in progress. I cringe when I think of the times I've barged in like a bull in a china shop and gotten it all wrong, but I feel joy when I consider that with practice, I have improved my risk-taking behaviours. It's okay to make mistakes. We can apologize for those. I'd rather fail in some of the risks I take than be too afraid to do anything but play it safe.