This week Lucy and I have embraced ‘adventure’ which is the word I selected for this year. Rooted by circumstances to spend most days in West Auckland, we have tried to make our own adventures, exploring new places and trying new things. The week has tested us both at times and has been tiring but also energising.
On Wednesday, I took Lucy ice skating for the first time. She was not very happy about it to begin with and clung to the side of the wall refusing to let go but gradually her confidence grew and within an hour she was skating.
I was struck, however, by some words she said while clinging to the wall tearfully fighting against her instinct to quit -“It’s embarrassing”– and later when we got home, I reflected on the power of these words and the feelings they evoke, to quash our sense of adventure and keep us limited and rooted to where we are.
How often have I backed out of a new experience because of embarrassment? Too many to count.
How often have you?
When Lucy was learning to walk, she was not embarassed – she was focussed simply on learning, on exploring and adventuring but fast forward nine years and trying something new has become something to fear. This is something I also know well. The fear of looking silly, of humiliating myself runs deep. Remembering moments of embrassment from years far in the past, still has the power to bring hot colour to my cheeks and know that I am not unique in this. Many of us have grown to fear embarrassment but this limits us and potentially stops us from living the lives we are meant to live.
Living adventurously means pushing through embarrassment, embracing the unfamiliar and accepting all that we are. As I watched my precious girl wobbling on her skates, trying to push through embrassment and give a new activity her all, I was reminded that I need to practice what I am trying to teach both of our girls. I cannot expect them to brave enough to take risks if I am not.
At the start of this year when I selected ‘adventure’ as my word for the year, I have to admit that I was thinking more of embracing our adventure in Aotearoa New Zealand more fully. What the word has come to represent for me, however, is a shift in mindset. Living adventurously means pushing out of the limits of our daily experience – being fearless and pushing through those thoughts and feelings like embarrassment that risk holding us back.
This week has reminded me that if I want to encourage my girls to be brave and to push out of their comfort zone, I need to be prepared to push through it myself in the pursuit of all kinds of adventure, big and small.