It will be difficult.
It’s going to be risky.
There will be family drama.
I can’t afford it.
Do any of these statements sound familiar? I know they’re familiar to me!
These are just a few of the 18 excuses Wayne Dyer outlines in his recent book, Excuses Begone!. Each excuse keeps us from taking action and pushing through fear, uncertainty and doubt. We’ve all probably used each of the excuses Dyer details in “Your Excuse Catalog” at least once, if not multiple times, to keep us in a comfort zone.
And while he states that the excuses are presented in no particular order, I believe he saved the biggest and best for last: “I’m too scared.”
At the root of all of our excuses is fear. As Dyer points out from “A Course in Miracles,” there are only two emotions we can experience: fear and love. If we were coming from a place of love – for ourselves, for others, for our purpose, for our existence as a representation of the divine – then there would be no place for excuses, i.e. fear. The excuses are simply a way to put a label on the fear.
As I made my way through Dyer’s book, I sometimes felt like he’d received a transcript of my thoughts. The excuses that resonated most with me: It will take a long time, I don’t have the energy, I’m too scared. And on some days, when I forget that the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time, I fall back on the excuse It’s too big.
These excuses keep me small. They think they are protecting me from being hurt by keeping me in a safe, comfortable place where I know where everything is and how things are going to turn out.
Excuses mean I am approaching my purpose from a place of fear, rather than love.
When I realize that, I am drawn (as I am over and over again) to Marianne Williamson’s words from “A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles:”
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
And who am I, if I’m not someone who is motivated by love? Why is it relatively easy to love others, to give them space to be human, yet forget that I, too, am a flawed yet powerful human being capable of magnificent deeds? My relationships, contributions and work are all about love. Fear is a signal that I’m making assumptions and thinking small, which does not support love.
An Old English proverb Dyer shares is one I’ve passed along to anyone who will listen: “Fear knocked on the door. Love answered, and no one was there.” In addition to the Williamson verse, those words have served as a powerful touchstone for me as I navigate the ups and downs of life. They provide me a daily reminder that I have a choice, and that choice is love over fear.
- What excuses keep you small and safe?
- What would it feel like to approach all of your tasks from a place of love?
- What will support you in living from place of love, rather than fear?