by William Arthur Ward
To laugh is to risk appearing a fool,
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out to another is to risk involvement,
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your ideas and dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return,
To live is to risk dying,
To hope is to risk despair,
To try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing.
He may avoid suffering and sorrow,
But he cannot learn, feel, change, grow or live.
Chained by his servitude he is a slave who has forfeited all freedom.
Only a person who risks is free.
The pessimist complains about the wind;
The optimist expects it to change;
And the realist adjusts the sails.
Mr. Ward beautifully penned the fortuity in being human. A dance of longings mixed with gambles taken to feel, to love, to belong, to in essence be free. The freedom to self-actualize. Maslow considered self-actualization as the top tier in the human needs rungs. Unfortunately, our emotional scars often make us afraid to take a risks.
Childhood often is the breeding ground for emotional scars that loom over into adulthood. Adulthood is filled with opportunities for an array of predicaments. How shall we self-actualize with these quandaries?
Accepting yourself; which is no small task. Forgive yourself understanding that mistakes are simply growth opportunities. Grant yourself time to mourn over the unrealized dreams. Quite the your inner critic. Offer yourself and to others compassion.
Living mindfully aware. Awareness ushers a sense of realism. Realism in being in the moment, fully present and in tune to the here and now. Realism that becomes an art in not being judgmental but opening up the door to curiosity.
Live true to your values. Make a list of what is important in you life along with negotiable and nonnegotiable.
Laugh. Endorphins hormones are secreted when we laugh signalling our brain to tell our bodies, relax. Endorphins are associated with exercise; perhaps, we can take the liberty to say laughter is a type of exercise.
To Risk or To Risk Not. The challenge is on to take a chance toward being Our Best Selves Yet.
Note: The risk identified in this writing is not one of recklessness, for to live as such is a contradictions to freedom.