Today is going to be a very personal writing experience for me, because I’m going to be talking about overcoming one of the biggest blocks most of us will face.
For most people, when you think of something you fear, you think of something external to yourself, almost automatically. A good example for me of this kind of fear is spiders. I am absolutely friggin TERRIFIED of those furry little eight-legged buggers. I can’t even hide it. If one gets on me, even a teensy tiny itty bitty one, I scream, and usually start crying. And people will laugh, and roll their eyes. Then I’ll normally get the same old lines I’ve heard as long as I can remember:
“Oh, they’re more scared of you than you are of them!”
“You’re so much bigger then it though!”
“You shouldn’t be scared of them, they’re part of nature, they keep the insect population from getting out of control.”
All of which is very true. It’s also very irrelevant. Because fear, especially that deep irrational fear which seems to emerge from nowhere, is exactly that: irrational. And every one of those perfectly reasonable lines I gave above falls on deaf ears as my fear-mind generates perfectly reasonable (to me, at the time) responses:
“It’s more scared of ME?!? Then why was it just chilling on my shoulder, guy?!?”
“Your bigger then a black widow too, wanna go find and be friends with one of those?!? BE MY GUEST!”
“So do bats!!! WHERE ARE ALL THE F**KING BATS?!?”
…And on and on it goes. Because when you’re in the grip of fear, any fear, finding your way out can seem impossible. And so often in life, we have fears that dwell inside us that are a lot less obvious, a lot more sneaky, than even the sneakiest arachnid.
Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Fear of being alone. Fear of the self, and what it might say, do, think or feel.
I have these too. I’m not going to pretend I don’t. So many of us walk around with these fears, and never address them, but that doesn’t make them any less real than my fear of spiders. And it doesn’t mean those fears don’t affect affect us in profound ways. We stay with a lover who disrespects us. Refuse to leave a job where we are unfulfilled. Refuse to love ourselves, fears and all, and then suffer the consequences.
For many this isn’t even a conscious choice, staying in fear mode- it has just slowly, over time, become our way of being.
But it doesn’t have to stay that way. I used to hate and be embarrassed by my fear of spiders; I would feel ashamed whenever someone laughed at me for it. But I am now making the conscious choice to love myself, even with those little irrational fears, and my heart is slowly starting to respond. Sometimes, when we try to improve ourselves, we criticize ourselves for our fears, for our “faults”, whatever we perceive them to be.
And yet we normally wouldn’t be near as harsh as this on say, our children or husbands or wives or brothers or sisters. No, we reserve the worst treatment, the harshest criticism for ourselves. Something that all of us do so often, it’s become a turn of phrase with “We’re our own worst critic”, being now a sadly commonplace statement.
If a lot of us heard someone speak to their child the way we think and feel about ourselves? We’d be horrified.
So just stop.
I know it seems hard, but just for today, be honest with yourself about your fears, and be gentle and loving in response. You may slip up, in fact you likely will, and that’s fine; this is an old habit, and it can take time, as we all know, to let go of those. To stop eating lunch in your office instead of with your coworkers because you fear not fitting in. To stop avoiding talking to your significant other, because you fear his or hers rejection of your interests. And please understand, I’m not asking anyone to change all of these habits, to shed all of these fears in one day.
Just acknowledge them. Acknowledging them doesn’t mean owning them forever, it means you recognize them and their presence in you. If you had a physically negative presence in your body, like a tumor or worms, would you just pretend it wasn’t there? Would you hate your body for hosting it? I hope not! All of us, at some point or another, are called on to fight an illness. To hate your physical body for having anything from the flu to cancer (especially when your body is naturally, instinctively, doing everything it can to reject it) is a very sad place to be in. And so is hating yourself for your fears.
Instead, make a choice today to say “I now realize that I have been afraid of [insert fear here], and I choose to love myself anyway.”
Accepting love from others, and accepting the Divine Feminine within ourselves, means learning to accept and love the rest of our Being as well. Even the parts we are not, at this particular moment, super enthused about.
And once you do make the choice to start to love yourself, as you are, warts and all? You’ll be surprised how many of those fears will slowly fade.
I can’t guarantee that you see me with a pet tarantula any time soon, mind you, but it’s a start.
Love to you, wherever you are,