“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.