I have a theory.

The more you open yourself up and let people see the dirty, gory stuff, the more they want to come close and keep looking — just as long as they are free to move away the moment that the front row seats start getting splashed with blood.

Everyone I know is scared. Scared not to be loved. Scared to be hurt. Scared that they won’t succeed. Scared they won’t make enough money. Scared they won’t be faithful or committed enough. Scared they will fail. Scared they will make the wrong choices in life, in their day, for lunch.

Where does all this fear come from?
What are these fears even about? Explain them to me.

Scared not to be loved: By whom? Your mom? Your siblings? Your spouse? Your boss? Yourself?

Scared to be hurt: How, and by what? Physically? Emotionally? Intellectually? Egotistically? Hurt by getting run over by a car, or hurt by getting your heart run over by xyz?

Scared you won’t succeed: At what? Life? Who defines success? Who do you know, personally, who meets those criteria of success? Do you know them well enough to see what they go through every day to be that “successful”? Do they feel successful every day? Aren’t you free to define your own version of success?

Scared you won’t make enough money: What is enough? Can you eat enough, sleep safe and dress warm? Can you work and be productive in your environment? Can you provide the same to those who depend on you? what else do you need? Or are you scared you won’t make enough money to consume more than you actually need?

Scared you won’t be faithful or committed enough: To what? Your family? Your wife? Your job? Your goals? What does commitment represent to you? That you are reliable? Can you be adventurous and open to discovery while being committed to something that didn’t take into account what you might discover in the future? Are you then committed to yourself, if you give up what could be, just to keep your word? Are you committed to being the best version of you? What if your commitment to the old you keeps you from living the life you didn’t dare to live before?

Scared you will fail: In what? Life? In your job? Your business? Your marriage? what’s the worst that could happen, that you have to start again? that you lose all the time and effort you put into getting where you are? What about the learning you would never have gotten if you didn’t fail, but just kept succeeding? Do you think you can risk missing out on those learnings?

Scared you will make the wrong choices in life, in your day, for lunch: Let me tell you, you will make the wrong choices, all the time. And you’ll survive them. Because when you’re standing on this side of a choice, you can’t see what it will look like after you’ve crossed over to the other side.You won’t know that the fish you just ate was sitting in a freezer for a day too long and when you put it in your stomach, it will start rotting and make you violently ill for 48 hours. You can only decide based on how that fish looks and smells before you order it. You won’t know that that man you agreed to have dinner with will fail to be there by your side the day you are violently sick, you can only decide based on how that man looks and talks before you agree on a time and place. You won’t know that the job you just agreed to will cost you more time and energy than you can afford when your mother-in-law contracts cancer and you have to take on a different role in your relationship than you expected. You can only decide to quit when you find out you can’t keep up anymore.

You can’t predict the future. But as we get older and collect more information about the past, we seem to become plagued by fears of history repeating itself, and try to predict and prevent things that haven’t even happened. Yet, somehow, we forget the most important part of the past that does repeat itself all the time:

We survived everything to be here today.

Whatever happened to you in the past, you made it through. Whatever you didn’t even think of fearing already happened to you, hurt you, scared you, made your life a living hell for a few moments, and then you moved on. You went on to the next episode of your life as easily as you waited for the next season of Game of Thrones. Sure, sometimes it’s not easy and time passes too slowly, and the pain and anguish of not knowing what lies ahead becomes almost too hard to bear. But eventually, a new season arrives, a new episode begins, and no matter how much of the past you bring with you, you never really know what will happen next. All you know is, you are committed to finding out.

The TV series we watch the most are a great indicator of what our generation values: The more courage a character has to be broken, scandalous, crazy, or depraved, the more committed we feel to seeing him through his journey. The more unexpected the outcome of the episode, the more anxiously we await the next one. The more confident we are that our hero will make it, the longer we’ll wait for him to survive the dilemma he gets himself into each time. And survive he does.

We are all heroes of our own TV series. You are the main character, you are surrounded by supporting cast members who help you reveal and discover your own personality, who keep you moving along your path, who test and tease you to show your true colours. You get through everything the screenplay throws at you, you learn your lessons and then you do it again anyway. You survive, just like every hero.

And your audience wants to know you. They want to look into your life, to see how you’ll survive, because they are scared about their own survival. Somehow, if you survive, they might too. Somehow, by seeing your pain and misery, their own becomes a little less difficult. Somehow, just knowing we are not alone helps us believe that we’ll be okay.

Because we will. In the end, we will be okay. We will survive that bad day, bad month, even that bad lunch. After a few painful moments, it’s over and we are still here.

In the meantime, I invite you to come behind the scenes of my insane TV series about the daughter of a retired Indian diplomat who is still single at 32 and lives alone in the center of Amsterdam all by herself, making a living by doing design work for people all over the globe, so that she can herself travel and discover the world she so deeply wants to understand her role in, as a woman, as a vegan, as an artist, as someone that most people believe spends her days shopping for shoes and posting about her travels on Facebook, and her nights drinking cocktails at fancy hotel bars with her fabulous international friends in any number of metropolitan cities. You never see her doing her laundry, or her administration; you never see her sitting on her couch stuck in a creative block, stressing and frustrating; you never see her up until 4am to finish a project with an 8am deadline; you never see her feeling miserable that she’s all alone in her life night after night, a million miles away from her family while everyone she knows snuggles up in bed near someone they love.

The show must go on, and this hero will continue to have courage to do what no one else will, because hopefully, it will help someone else find their own courage to be who they are, to live how they want, to be a little less scared of failing or making the wrong decision, or of being unpopular because of being unreliable or inconsistent or just not what they were the previous day.

Dare to be you, dare to be dirty, dare to be insane, if that’s what you are. You’ll survive it. And most likely, people will only love you all the more for it. Just like every hero.

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