Maybe I've already quoted Paolo Coehlo's The Alchemist 87 times on this blog, but it's for good reason: "When you want something, all the Universe conspires to help you achieve it." Back when I started to allow myself to get lost in my dreams of traveling, quitting my office job, and leading a life of meaningful service, I would write and talk about it as though that's where I already was. I have old journal entries about how "I never once regretted my decision to quit my job". I've written out descriptions of my Prince Charming (he's still on his way). Right before I left Bali, I was drawing up my new home, work schedule, and collaborations with people who inspire me.
One of my biggest fears of traveling solo, and one I've heard from many others, is feeling lonely due to social anxiety. It's stopping ourselves from trying to connect due to a false belief that we are unworthy or incapable and will be turned down. This fear pops up with public speaking, dating, interviews, and in so many other places. We allow our anxiety to present itself and steer us, while we watch from behind, small and scared. What if in these moments we put on a show of being big, empowered, and capable? Terrifying, right? But I bet you'd start to feel bigger, empowered, and capable...
So often, we limit ourselves by standing behind our fear. Our deepest aspirations are held off by the excuses our anxiety provides. We let our self-doubt and criticism dictate how far ahead we can move, how close we can come to our dreams and goals. What if you just pretended? If you allowed yourself 30 minutes to dream without limitations? Try it...then from that place, start acting as though you were already there. Put yourself where you want to be, even if it's only mentally/emotionally at first, and then let the world around you shift to support you. (Disclaimer: please don't not show up for work because you "fake quit" or buy a Porsche because you "won the lottery", etc).
If you want a tangible example of how this works, try a Laughter Yoga class. The theory behind Laughter Yoga is that the body is positively changed by the effects of fake laughter just as much as by real laughter. Ultimately, you actually have those benefits like increased energy, released endorphins, less stress. You've faked it and made it!
Fear is the mask that's holding you back, but beneath that you are capable, confident, enough, and ready. Even if it feels unnatural for now, go ahead and try that mask on for a while.