I meditate a lot, and now I’m on a creative sabbatical with a lot more time on my hands I can meditate a lot more. Sometimes I do hours and hours a day. Meditation really helps calm down my anxious mind, but it almost always gives me loads of ideas and solutions to problems. I’m an ideas person anyway, but meditation just brings this to another level for me. This morning’s felt like an epiphany to me or a kind of breakthrough. As clear as day came these words
Fear is a denial of self-love
I wrote it down, thinking it was significant and wondered where on earth this concept had sprung from. I guess it’s hardly surprising, seeing that my creative sabbatical or retreat as it is right now, is about me detoxing from corporate life and healing my wounds from the past. Alongside the healing, I am trying to push through even more fears and limiting beliefs.
Most of my fears over the years I had kept well hidden. They were not that obvious, and I was able to skirt around most of them with ease if I did not put myself out there so to say. Fear of having my photo taken, fear of video making, these I’ve been fighting against my whole life and in the last 6 months, I slayed them, like the Welsh dragon I am (at least that’s how I feel each time I conquer a fear).
However, those aren’t the only ones I have and being on sabbatical with absolutely no idea of what I will do next, where I will live in the future or how I will earn money in the future, fear is playing a part in my everyday life, that I will admit.
Last week I found a chant that I used to chant as a teenager, I found it quite calming, but I did not really know what it meant. Nam Myho Renge Kyo. I’d heard it in the Tina Turner film, as she’d chanted that to get away from Ike and change her life. I’d forgotten about it for a very long time, then I saw it flash up on Pinterest. I was so happy as now I knew that I would be able to find information on it. The last time I had searched, there was no internet I could not find any books, so I forget about it. Yes, it was that long ago, before the internet.
Nam Myho Renge Kyo is a chant, that you chant out loud, from Nichiren Buddhists and chanted daily it’s supposed to bring you everything you desire. The thing is you chant it out loud and, guess what I have a fear of singing. Not a little fear, a big one. Like with any of our fears, it springs up from nowhere, embeds itself and if you let it, it sets itself inside you like invisible chains stopping you from doing anything that might endanger your wellbeing. And we all know that singing out loud is a very dangerous activity. Sounds funny when I write it like that, but when fear has you in its grips it really does feel like you are about to do some death-defying stunt. Fight or flight kicks in and you are at the mercy of those emotions, holding you back from even having a go.
So I could not chant this chant out loud, and the effectiveness of chanting means actually chanting. The other thing is that there are loads of activities in Bali, in wellness circles that involve chanting, and so I was also excluded from those. So I was excluding myself from fun and healing activities because I was scared of singing. It really makes no sense, like most of my other fears, and maybe also like yours.
Where did the fear of singing come from?
I was born deaf as a child or very hard of hearing. I had ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat) problems so I could not hear, taste or smell anything for years. Consequently, I could not hear my own voice and neither could I hear notes. As a child, I remember being told not to sing at home, at school and by friends, because it was so very bad. One teacher told me that I was tone deaf and had no hope of ever playing a musical instrument. I had gone to her as I wanted to learn the Oboe, with my friend jo. Jo was really good at music and I loved hearing her play Oboe. But the teacher had the power and she said no, and those “tone-deaf” words stuck with me ever since.
It’s easy not to challenge your fears, isn’t it?
So, I stopped singing and started hating events where I would have to sing. Weddings, funerals, birthdays, concerts, karaoke and the list goes on. And I don’t think I have every sung again, apart from one night when I was extraordinarily drunk. Apparently, I got loads of people singing with me, so I was fine for drunk people. Sadly, I can’t remember it!
It’s another easy fear to hide, you just avoid situations where you might have to do it, and over time you become an expert at it. Alas deep down I really have a deep yearning to sing, not so people can hear me, but I know that it would bring me joy. And I am Welsh and it’s pretty much a national pastime, so not singing is ludicrous. So, there it sits, this fear of singing, stopping me from doing so many things, all because a few people once told me I was rubbish. And that is a good 30 years ago now, and I am still ruling my life based on those comments.
It’s really embarrassing really when you write it down and look at it like that. I feel embarrassed writing it, never mind having someone else read it, but I’ve committed to telling my story, good and bad, so the embarrassing comes along with that too.
Fear gets worse with age
As I age my sensitivity to life has increased, and so I have found have my fears. I’ve always been very sensitive, but I note that it’s significantly amplified itself in the last 4 – 5 years (I will discuss this in another post, as I see this as positive now). As minor and bizarre as some of these fears may be to others, to me they are not only limiting but at some level I can feel them destroying my soul. The urge to create is so great, that these fears (which all seem to be creative), are blocking and dimming my light. It’s not about showing off, it’s about being who you are as a rounded human and being able to use those things that you know you have buried down there somewhere.
Blocking creativity and expression can lead to self-destruction which can be anything from overeating, undereating, overworking, drinking too much, smoking too much and the list goes on. Mine was overworking, alcohol and smoking, and I see a direct link between my fears and limiting beliefs and my self-destructiveness. I literally stopped drinking and smoking overnight, once I’d really started working on my fears, getting past them and out of some of the toxic situations that I was in.
Fear and Creativity
I truly believe that by using your creativity, you can help build yourself up and lift your levels of self-esteem. It does not matter if you are good or not, it’s about using self-expression. I wrote another post on this a few weeks back.
These chance negative comments that people we surround ourselves with as children and with adults are often nothing to do with us and our inadequacies, they are most often a projection of the judgers own view of themselves. However, we take on these projected comments, views and putdowns as our own and embed them in our psyche, limiting our lives and our beliefs.
Should we blame our parents and teachers and “loved ones”?
It’s very easy to blame other people, for our own limitations and the scars we have carried since childhood. It can be extraordinarily painful and embarrassing to look back and realize that you have limited your own life, due to some off the cuff comment that someone else has made way back when.
These feelings that have stayed inside and embedded and enmeshed themselves within you are a part of you now, and to give them up is not easy. It’s far simpler to hang on to that pain, have someone else to scapegoat, while you live in your victimhood.
We have all done it, as that for sure is the easy route. It’s not nice to think of ourselves, as weak or having allowed ourselves to be a victim. I know I find that incredibly hard to take as I mow down and slay each fear and my demons one at a time. All of them created in my own head that I have empowered, fed and watered myself over the years, as if they were some grandiose wish, that I wanted to create instead of some crappy fear that limited my life.
I have come to realize that people toss around negative comments all the time, and it’s our choice as a human, whether we embed them within us or we just crumple them up and put them in the waste paper bin in our head.
As I said before, those judgments and comments were very likely not about you or me. They were either manipulation or a control mechanism used by the aggressor to try to control you or put you down, so they feel superior. Or they were just a projection of their own lack of confidence and self-belief. Once you start to watch situations and people in action when they judge, criticize or put down, they become very easy to spot.
So, no I don’t believe that we should blame anyone else for what they have said or done. I think we need to take responsibility for it ourselves. It’s taken me a long time to get to this stage though, but I know that on the other side of this lies a very different kind of life. A life lived with love and not fear, so it’s worth pushing, battling and slaying for.
So why do we hang on to these fears?
I am not sure why we or I have hung on to these fears for so long. The more I start working on them, the more that seem to spring up. You may not even know that they are there anymore, as you have created your life around them.
Hanging on to them makes life simple, just as blaming someone else for them. If you don’t have them anymore or they are gone, then life suddenly opens. Opening life up, making it bigger and being able to accept opportunities means change. And as much as we may not like to admit it, we all fear change on some level.
On the other side of fear is a much bigger life, perhaps a much better life, but that involves change and transition and being in a place of potential failure. These are all scary feelings, so it’s easier sometimes to just work around these fears. Leave them buried where they are. No point in upsetting the apple cart.
Why is fear really about denial of self-love?
And so, to get back to the title of fear and the denial of self-love. This is really a personal reflection of what I have seen through consistently battling my fears in the last few years. The last 6 months I’ve escalated their annihilation significantly, and as I did that so I started to see the link between fear and self-love.
I have got past many creative fears, stopped things that I thought I was addicted to and detached myself from people that were not lifting me up and learned how to speak my truth. Through taking all those steps and by really homing in on my feelings through taking time in silence and in meditation the “why” started to crystallize. I have come to see that the fears and addictions, and beliefs had become so easily enmeshed within me, as I had almost no self-esteem, self-worth or self-love.
They just flowed right in, like I was some kind of empty vessel, waiting for all the negative things people would say, and then I built a castle of fear on each of them, through my negative and criticizing self-talk.
Your life is a reflection of how you feel. If you feel bad, negative and depressed all the time, it’s highly likely that your world will be a reflection of this and bad things will happen (believe me I have been there).
Once you learn to take responsibility for your feelings and thoughts and know that you can change them, it quickly becomes apparent that you have created these limiting beliefs and fears yourself. Once bad thoughts become good thoughts, and negative beliefs and fears hit the high road, then the magic starts to happen.
I believe that we are stopping ourselves from getting past these fears as we don’t believe that we are worthy enough or have enough self-love to be able to do the things that are blocking us. So, my fear of having my photo taken and of making video was born for sure from lack of self-worth.
Of not feeling that I had any right to be in a photo or make a video or even write. Only 2.5 years ago, did I manage to get past my fear of writing and publishing and now that is one of my favorite things to do. I have dreams of writing books one day. As each of these fears get beaten down, and I allow myself to do them, so the likelihood of having a new life, a better life increases each day.
Why do we deny ourselves, love?
That is a very complex question and I certainly cannot answer that for you. I can only answer it for me. My story is somewhat unusual as only around an estimated 20% of the population have this, but we are growing so to say as more and more children are now being born like this.
I was born a very sensitive kid. In the last few years, I’ve become highly sensitive, and I believe I am also an empath. So, I specialize in sucking up other people’s emotions and feelings. People also come to me to unburden their feelings often without even knowing they are doing it. I did not realize this until the last few years and with age, it’s got a lot stronger.
So, I not only had my emotions and my own pain, but I sucked up other people’s emotions and pain, not really knowing I was doing it. It only really became obvious to me, as my dad was dying, and I got to a point where I had to go into hiding for a while as I could not take on my pain and everyone else’s.
Having had this since childhood, it led me to feeling depressed and down from a young age and not really knowing why. I sucked up anything negative and held onto it, making it my truth. All the wonderful things got cast aside and those never seemed to get taken onboard, just the bad stuff. Apparently, it’s a very common thing amongst highly sensitive people, but of course, I’d never heard of that phrase then, only recently have there been books or studies into it.
That’s my story, and of course, there are hundreds of thousands of people that have been through terrible and horrific things, and on that, I can’t comment and advise on. I can only state the difference in my life between not being in control of my feelings and fears and being horribly depressed and then actively working to make it better and it’s like night and day.
How can we get past these fears?
So, I’ve written many times about just throwing yourself at the situation and just going for it, which I whole heartily believe in doing. If you are in a good place yourself, feel confident and are sound of mind, then go for it.
However, that really is and was not the full story of how I got to identify, find, listen to and address my fears. I spent years literally pulling myself apart in therapy, in yoga, in meditation and now again by being in silence on creative sabbatical, working on the next layers. Daily work on making myself feel good and doing things I enjoy has had to become part of my life, as I was accustomed to sacrificing everything for work and everyone else.
It’s been one hell of a ride, and very scary at times, opening and battling my demons. However, I would not have got to the place I am now if I had not ripped myself open and embraced finding out, what was “wrong with me”.
I am eternally grateful for the person, that started me on this process. As I believe that breaking down, to build myself back up again, with real foundations, real beliefs and doing what I want to do in the way that I want to do it, will change my life and hopefully other peoples too.
Thank you for reading my story. I am still working on my fears daily, and the singing one is still a work in progress. I do hope this has given you food for thought. I’d love to hear whether you think that the fear and self-love link is valid and what you do, to get past your fears and slay them?
Things that I have tried over the years that have really helped me:
- Yoga and meditation to help me to start opening up, quieten the mind and start watching what was going on in there and to quell anxiety daily
- Therapy, most especially CBT (COGNITIVE BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY) to process a lot of the shit that came out from letting my emotions and all the crap I had surprised over the years come out and then twist it around positively.
- Anti-depressant medication to help with sleep and get me to a place of feeling halfway normal again after the death of my dad and dealing with my emotional issues. That works together with CBT. These can be a brain boost, you don’t often need them long term
- EFT Tapping really helps to quickly get past crap quickly. I will write more on this another day
- Journaling – massively helped me. I have now been doing this for almost 3 years straight. A huge help
- Working on the Base or Root Chakra
- There’s plenty more, but those are the core ones above.
Do make sure as I always say in my posts that you consult with your doctor or licensed therapist if you have emotional issues. There is also no shame in taking medication to boost up the chemicals in your brain, despite what many of these so-called wellness gurus say. Try whatever works for you. There is no one size fits all.