Emiliano Zapata Salazar

Stand Up For Yourself

What if you knew what you wanted out of life and went for it? What if you stood up for yourself and refused to sit back down? What would your life be like if you stopped abandoning your dreams or compromising your true desires? What would you hear if you deeply, sincerely and generously listened to yourself?

Emiliano Zapata Salazar, a leading figure in the Mexican revolution said, “It is better to die on your feet then live on your knees.” Perhaps we are not engaged in a war and battling opposing dictatorship like Zapato, but we are indeed battling opposition–fear. Fear of failure, rejection, embarrassment, and ridicule–the list of things we fear is often long and overwhelming. But, Zapato’s quote reminds us that we can stand up to fear–at any moment we can tell someone we love them, apply for a better job, walk away from a job, or answer a calling we’ve been afraid to hear. Even though the idea of loss or rejection may be terrifying, the alternative option of being a victim to fear and living on your knees is paralyzing.

In order for life to happen so must rejection, disappointment and death. Neither the thought, or reality of any of these obstacles is pleasurable, but meeting them is unavoidable. When we attempt to elude rejection, disappointment, or even death, we ultimately face the reality that we’re living in and by fear. By changing our attitude about obstacles, we can free ourselves from them. If the cells between our hands and feet did not die off in the womb, we would be walking around with webbed extremities. Imagine how different our lives would be if the body hadn’t sacrificed those cells. The body naturally rejects what it does not need and the result is nothing short of magnificent.

Ironically, while our bodies may know when to say no to cells that do not benefit our growth, our minds cling to objects, behavior and habits that impede transition and development. All too often we get stuck in holding on to the life we don’t want because we are afraid to embrace the life that we do. Furthermore, sometimes we are taught that being agreeable is more important than getting what we need– we fear saying no. In order to make way for what we most desire, it is critical to say no to certain opportunities, people, habits and beliefs that do not support our personal evolution. Like shedding cells is critical to physical renewal, discarding certain interpretations and judgments is crucial to realizing our full potential.

When you objectively look at your own life, do you notice times when you need to say no, or maybe, yes? Do you see places where if you draw the line, make a move, leave something behind that is not working you could begin something new, but by hanging on you are frozen in place? Once you commit fully, without turning back, only then can you move forward. When you need a big change you can’t do it by being comfortable, you must take a risk–embrace your true passion for life and move with conviction. Remember that you have equal chances of success and happiness as you do failure and embarrassment once you TAKE ACTION! Follow your heart, believe in yourself and you will thrive.

Carl Jung aptly stated “living from an inspired reality you create takes work, the kind of work that requires the courage of a revolutionary, the passion of a painter and the precision of a sculpture.” Saying no to unconscious beliefs that don’t serve our purpose takes a great deal of courage. Standing up for your desires may require saying no to people you love, as well as old habits and beliefs that once served you well. As the inspired painter working on the canvas of life, choosing the right colors is key to creating a masterpiece.

Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. Carl Jung


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