I dare you…

Do you challenge yourself?  Is it a good challenge?  Or something silly?  Harmful?  There are many ways you can challenge yourself.  A dare to finish a monster ice cream sundae.  Outlasting your friends in a drinking game.  How many books can you read during a week’s vacation.  Go a whole week without speeding on the drive to work.

Some challenges are easier than others.  But which ones do you really gain from?  Let’s face it.  There’s not much to gain from being able to out-drink your college buddies or from eating 2 gallons of ice cream with toppings.  Reading a dozen books in a week will at the very least give your brain a workout even if they are romance novels.  Even doing the crossword puzzle (do it in ink, smarty pants) will help you work your mind, maybe even gain a bit of knowledge.

Sometimes we do things because it’s something we haven’t done before.  Or it may be something we said we would never try.  Perhaps it’s something we said we did not want to do ever again.  Conquering a fear can be a good challenge, whether it’s to get over a physical obstacle or an emotional one.  What do I mean by that, you ask?

A physical obstacle would be getting over a fear of heights.  What happens with vertigo?  Each step higher makes you dizzy, break out in a sweat, anxiety climbing faster than you are.  But the euphoria of reaching the top of whatever molehill scares you is worth every step.  I’m not afraid of heights, just the sudden stop after I fall.  That’s the part that hurts.  Which brings me to the other type of challenge.

An emotional challenge may be letting go of an old hurt, conquering a body image issue, silencing negative self-talk.  You could wear something more form-fitting than sweats and a baggy t-shirt.  Tell yourself you are beautiful/intelligent/sexy every time you walk past a mirror every day for a month.  Maybe the challenge would be to date someone with the same body type as the ex that ripped your heart out.  Or putting yourself where you’ll be in close proximity to someone who resembles somebody who hurt you.  You’ll experience some of the same symptoms: anxiety, cold sweats.  But the euphoria afterward, when you realize you survived the encounter, may be just as sweet as climbing to the top of the mountain.

Let me ask you again.  Do you challenge yourself?  Do you push yourself outside of your comfort zone?  Don’t you think it’s about time you did?  Even if you don’t reach the goal, you will have had the experience.  You will have faced that fear.  You can do it if you try.  Go ahead.  I dare you…

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