Feeling boxed in: Fear sets the limits

So today I got my first ever viewer request for a topic, and the request that came in: “You should do one called the fears you don’t face become your limits.” And this sentence intrigued me.
I asked for more information.
He said, “So many people don’t do things to better themselves in their lives out of fear, fear of change or the outcome, and fear becomes your limits.” So I like that idea of fear setting your limits.
And why is it that so many people are- well, we all are in some way limited in what we can do and in the ways we can change.
And sometimes other people can look at us and say, “Well, why don’t you just change? There’s nothing stopping you.” And yet everybody is living in these kind of little boxes that we build for ourselves, where we don’t feel like we can change in certain ways.
Because really, now, I’ve known this, and I’ve thought this in theory for a long time, but the practice, of course, is where all the challenge is.
Because in theory, it’s very easy to say that really we can do anything.
The only thing you need to do is eventually die.
There is nothing else you need to do.
Any day, you could begin the day and you could decide to do absolutely anything.
You could completely do the opposite of everything you’ve done your entire life.
You could do great things.
You could do terrible things.
You could do completely nonsensical things.
Or you could just- you could carry on doing the expected normal thing for you.
But you really can do anything.
So why is it- what keeps us behaving within a rather small range of behaviours, when at any time we could do anything? So this idea is that those limits, the definition of that box that we live in, is set by our fears.
This makes sense, because if you really face the idea that you can do absolutely anything, if you really face the endless possibility, it really is overwhelming.
It’s too much.
It seems like it’s too much freedom to handle.
And although we all- we love the word freedom, and it sounds like a great thing, and a certain degree of it certainly is a great thing, but when faced with total freedom, it is a terrifying thing to know that we could do absolutely anything, and what are we going to do? We can become paralyzed by the choices.
Too many things, and too many unknowns.
So we build our own box.
We set boundaries within which we live, like building a nice fence around the property, and then we stay in that property.
And you might think, well, why don’t you step outside the property? Look there’s a whole world out there.
You could do all these different things, go to all these different places.
And yet it’s comfortable to be inside a fenced-off, protected property.
It’s comfortable to be inside a nice, cozy, warm house, instead of outside, where sometimes it’s sunny, but sometimes it’s stormy.
In the house it’s always comfortable.
And we build this house for ourselves.
We build a structure of habits and expectations and regular behaviour, and then that becomes our life.
We can live inside this expected range, and what’s out there is frightening.
We stay in this range because we feel safe and comfortable.
What is outside is not safe and not comfortable.
So the walls, the fences, the borders of this territory, this mental house that we live in, are set by our fears.
Whatever we consider to be unsafe, to be outside the acceptable range, we build the wall keeping that out.
So it’s like building this house for ourselves where the walls are our fears.
When it comes to everyday life, it’s a very practical thing to do.
And yet, if you think about it this way, you can start to wonder: do the walls really need to be where they are? Do I really need to avoid stepping out of this particular box of territory? What happens if I do step out? It means stepping through one of those walls of fear, and who knows what’s beyond there? But, the next time, if my life starts to feel a little bit too boxed in, I’ll know that the place to look will be at one of those walls of fear, and it might be time to knock one of them down and stretch out my living space.

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