Undefine your fears

“I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

–Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear, Dune


For most of my life, I lived in a world of fear and shame that left me paralyzingly shy. Shyness was the gate of emptiness I could not close. For years, I did not believe that anyone would love me for me because of my shyness. It seemed like people only liked me in those moments when I broke out of my shyness because then they did not have to face something that made them uncomfortable — the sadness and shame that was so obvious in me that they desperately wanted to avoid in themselves.

I became talented in pretending to be who people wanted me to be. My observation skills were so strong from my shyness that I could very easily mirror people and be their perfect companion. It was perfect except for three things: I was not happy, I was not myself, and living an inauthentic life is exhausting.

I clung to the idea that people loving me was the key to my happiness.  I made filling my life with people my occupation. It took me a long time to recognize that only I could fill all the empty spaces inside of me by being myself and loving myself unconditionally. I realized I was the love I was seeking.

One of the things I am most proud of in my life is this journey from shame and self-hate to my current path of self-love and kindness. I went within and faced myself and my demons. Instead of judging, I loved. Instead of condemning, I breathed. I have been able to push pass my fears so deeply that I can stand in front of a room and teach yoga. I can push past my ego and my past and be there for others to perhaps help them undefine some of their fears. Me, the girl who could not even blow out her birthday cake without crying and hiding behind my mother’s skirt.


We must travel in the direction of our fears. — John Berryman.

Rather than avoiding the things that make us uncomfortable or afraid, we need to delve right into them because they are the changemakers in our lives. Resisting them will only strengthen the impact that they have in our lives and we will remain stuck, our past dictating our future.

Go within and truly ask yourself what does your fear stem from? Understanding the source of your fears will help you to slowly unravel them. Take small steps towards doing things that frighten you every day. Often, fear is a perspective rather than a reality. Fearlessness is a muscle that needs to be strengthened everyday. Find comfort in things that fill you with fearlessness and love. For me, I found that comfort in writing, loving kindness meditation, and heart opening poses and inversions.

My affirmation to myself: I am enough. I am love.


top photo by *Zephyrance – don’t wake me up..

bottom photo by Fixed Image.

10 responses to “Undefine your fears

  • Thais

    Beautiful Liss just beautiful.

  • emmainbxl

    Beautiful post, and one I can totally relate to, being a shy person and an introvert. I used to think blending in was key, but I was miserable. So yay for each and everyone of us, we are enough :)

  • Lynette

    This is so beautifully written! Thank you for sharing your story. It’s just what I needed to read this morning.

  • Kate

    I too have struggled with crippling shyness and social anxiety that has left me in several terrifying situations in recent years. I have only just started my yoga practice and I can already see a light at the end of my silent tunnel. I read an article that I’ll try to dig up & share about the creative mind being simultaneously introverted and extroverted. Made me want to pull out my old homemade art school tee shirt “right brain
    isn’t wrong” that we wore when we had to write long papers instead of working in the dark room all quiet and focused.
    PS- I enjoy the way you write.

  • lissa

    thank you so much for your lovely comments. so thankful for yoga; it truly is a blessing in the healing it can do for social anxiety and shame.

  • Angelika

    Nice piece

  • Maura

    your story is so beautiful…what an amazingly strong woman you are and truly an inspriation…thank you so much for sharing :)

  • MegP4

    Beautiful! This post resonates with me, very much. I do need to face my fears and finally put them to rest.

  • Tara SG

    Not only is this a beautiful post that hit very close to my heart, but you also opened it with my favorite quote from one of my favorite books :)

  • sinayy

    your post is exactly what I’m going through right now. It sounds exactly like me and I wanna not be shy anymore…. ):

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: