Playing it Safe

I’m writing about this because I know that if something shows up three times, it is for me. This is one of those things that I absolutely do NOT want to invite into my life. Thus, here goes.

First, I got a call from a friend. She met a guy and fell for him instantly. The first thing she said to me, “It’s been more than a decade since Jerry died. This is exactly what I felt when I met him. I can’t believe I’m feeling this way again! I didn’t think it would ever happen again!”

She’s had it rough. The first time she was widowed, she was a beautiful young bride, married less than a year, pregnant with their first child. Her husband died in a tragic accident. I don’t know how she lived through that. Next came a pair of disastrous marriages, one to a philanderer and one with an emotional abuser. Finally, she met Jerry. They had their ups and downs, and worked through issues to their happily ever after. They had several beautiful years until a medical error took his life.

More than a decade since she felt that magic. That’s a very long time to wait for something so wonderful. Within three days, she had a laundry list of reasons the relationship would not work. None of them were real; they were excuses. They all added up to protecting her heart from getting hurt again. Rather than risk being vulnerable, she chose to play it safe. She lied and told him she wasn’t interested. And, literally, kissed away an opportunity she had waited years for.

Second, the phone call with a woman who has been avoiding her calling for nearly a decade. “I feel like I’ve got this thing gurgling inside me,” she described it. We talked about what it was, why it scared her, and how it might work. As she talked, I took notes. When she paused, I read a mission statement back to her. She recognized them as her words, though she said they sounded so much more beautiful coming from me.

I told her that is normal; I had simply taken the static out of them. The words were pure energy. They were pure because her mission, her calling, her purpose, is clear, pure, deep, and desperately needed.

And, she hasn’t called me back.

I can feel the deep value of her calling. The energetic connections throughout the Universe speak to me. I hear them and feel them. Sorry to say, I can’t do a thing about it because they’re not mine. I can’t push anyone into their calling; they have to take the leap.

Maybe later. For now… she’s playing it safe.

Finally, the third bell rang. A man I know is grieving the loss of a long-term relationship. According to him, he thought they had a commitment. Apparently, she thought they had an agreement. He began the relationship telling her that she was pushing for too much too soon. She told him he was projecting, but he couldn’t see it.

He finally admitted that he has never taken a first step of vulnerability in their entire relationship. He always waited for her to open up more, step up to a higher level of vulnerability, authenticity, and healing, before following her there. Unfortunately, with each step up, instead of acknowledging that she was lifting him to greater healing, he told her that she was pushing him. She finally broke under the weight of all the heavy lifting. He played it safe and now she’s gone.

What do the three have in common? A message about playing it safe.

“Safe” isn’t really safe at all.

The first will live with the ache of love lost before it ever bloomed. The second will live with the churning of an unbirthed calling. The third will live with the pain of losing a well-established love because he was too afraid to authentically and vulnerably nurture it.

Each will live with the ghost of What Could Have Been. What Could Have Been if I had opened my heart to him, to my calling, to her? What could I be enjoying now?

As to avoiding pain, that is a myth. Their pain won’t come from the outside; it will never get the chance. They will live with pain they created inside themselves.

Sure, by playing it safe, they avoided the pain they were afraid others would inflict on them. But, by playing it safe, they betrayed themselves, their truth, their knowing, their innate wisdom. There is no greater betrayal than betrayal of self, no greater pain than that which is self-inflicted. If we cannot trust another, there is always somewhere else to go, but if we cannot trust ourselves, we will never be truly safe.

Now, I’m off to look at where I’m playing it safe. Time to turn authentic and vulnerable eyes to my own heart, soul, and calling.

Where am I playing it safe? Where are you playing it safe? Where are you playing big and bold? I’d love to read your story in the comments below.

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