Since publishing an entry a few days ago in response on how choosing to get gutsy was a good thing, I’ve been thinking about the dark side of getting gutsy.
Can being gutsy end up being a bad thing?
Getting gutsy means having the confidence to step beyond one’s comfort zone in order to learn and grow.
However, what if you not only step beyond your comfort zone, but propel yourself beyond it to the point that you end up going way too far and getting battered and bruised?
Let me explain. I mentioned before that I wrote and delivered my dad’s eulogy at his funeral in October. I volunteered to do it without even thinking it through because I knew my sisters wouldn’t feel up to it, and I thought my dad deserved to have nice words spoken about him.
Up until then, the hardest thing I’d ever done had been reading a poem at my mom’s funeral. At the time I was proud of myself for getting up there and doing that, and I thought about it over the years to convince myself that I could do whatever next big scary task I was facing.
That was small potatoes compared to the task I’d assigned myself for my dad’s service. I felt a combination of sadness for our loss and so much freaking anxiety in the four days we spent preparing for his service, knowing I’d have to stand up in front of people and talk.
Like lots of people, I have a real fear of public speaking. I called my doctor’s office to see if they could prescribe an anti-anxiety medication to help me get through it. (No dice.) Those around me told me I didn’t have to do it, but I felt I had to.
Right before it was time to speak at the service, I felt like I was going to pass out. Luckily, two friends and my sister came into the restroom, where I sat with my head between my knees, and helped me feel better.
Standing at the podium, I tried to remember the pointers Mike and my family had given me. Try to look up and make eye contact. Take your time.
Afterward, I received positive feedback, so it seems like I did okay.
Still, the abject fear and anxiety compounded by the mourning rituals and grief was almost too much to take. I was glad I had gotten through it, but rather than feeling proud that I’d gotten gutsy, I wished that I hadn’t put myself through it. I wouldn’t do it again, and I wouldn’t recommend doing this to anyone.
Writing it is fine, but delivering it was just too much when the deceased person is a parent. I wish I’d given it to a family member with maybe a bit of distance, such as a brother-in-law.
Have you ever pushed yourself “too far” and regretted it?
(Thanks to Jessica Lawlor and her blog, Getting Gutsy, for the encouragement to explore this topic!)