Until I began loving myself without condition, I lived in fear.
Flight, fight or freeze: the trilogy of responses to fear. Though fear, according to Psychology Today, is a vital response to physical and emotional danger—if we didn’t feel it, we couldn’t protect ourselves from legitimate threats. They also write, that “often we fear situations that are far from life-or-death, and thus hang back for no good reason.” That’s the freeze part, immobilized by the unknown.
Useful fear is our first alert and shows up as an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. This unpleasant emotion may also be triggered by something that is not visible, imminent, present or even real. This type of fear is often described as False Evidence Appearing Real.
Let’s explore this. If the threat isn’t imminent it is likely unknown. We think something might happen if we don’t do better at life. I fear I won’t have enough money. I fear that no one will ever like me. I fear that I have failed in my life. I fear that I am simply not strong enough to live my dreams. I fear (insert your own self-doubt here).
This useless fear shows up as self-loathing, self-doubt, a sense of lack that as it lingers grows larger and larger each day. This fear feeds on itself and becomes a mask over what is actually real. This leads to depression, a negative outlook and blindness of an otherwise happy life. Nothing good comes out of fear.
We might wear our masks unknowingly or we decide at some point in our life that by not sharing our true selves we will be protected from others judgments (who cares?) all the while hiding our magnificence. We are all manifesting our divine nature in our special way and it needs to be shared. This is true service to others.
Self-doubt can be a life sentence of fear without committing a crime. Why do we do this to ourselves? We are fantastic just as we are. Why not love all of ourselves, even our wrongs and stupid mistakes? (By the way, we ALL make them!)
Digging deeper into my own personal experience of being fearful, it seems that another F-word may be the antidote to unreal fears: Facing my truth. Until I arrived at the moment of unconditional love for myself, I lived in fear. I’ve lived through this until I saw my past as essential life moments by which, like all of us, I learned how to live better. There was this moment not so long ago when in meditation I saw past events in my mind’s eye, pictured on thousands of dominoes and when I released a long cleansing breath, the dominoes started falling as they do and created this beautiful mosaic of my life and I said, AHHH! This changed my life.
The fear that is not vital is a mask of our truth. I let others define my truth though it was usually in conflict with what I felt. It caused confusion, struggle, feelings of lack and those emotions and negative beliefs turned into a sick cycle of trying to prove something false and hiding from myself just in case the judgments and opinions offered by others just might be true. Do you relate? This fear wreaked havoc in my life and others’ lives. I manifested what I feared. I was a complete and total failure.
This, of course, was false and allowed me to create the next cycle of fear: I would never succeed. I never thought to ask myself if this was true?
Through years of spiritual practice and guidance of many mentors, I began a journey into removing the mask. Seeing myself truly as I was with flaws and failings and happy times and triumphs I embraced my humanness and unmasked a beautiful spiritual being navigating life like all the rest of us. We come here without an instruction book. We receive guidance from those who created us and others that come into our lives. We begin to be conditioned and acclimated into society before we learn who we really are; before we know our real truth. For many it takes a lifetime (or more) to know that we are truly, simply people, created equally, beautifully unique with our own shape, smile, struggles, sadness and joy.
Fear is a mask that hides our true self and we can only face our unmasked truth through love for ourselves without conditions. “I like myself but I can be better,” is a mask. You are, and I am, who we are now at the moment. Love that. Love you. Fear masks the love of ourselves. When we surrender to who we are right now, this moment and give ourselves a pat on the back and a really big hug because we are awesome as we are. And then you’ll no longer need the mask or the fear.
Super heroes (my favorite is Spider man) wear masks to perform great feats of saving others who wish to do so anonymously though we love it when their true self is revealed. We love them more. Are you a super hero behind that mask? I think you are.
Accept and love yourself without condition and you will find that this self-love unmasks the rest of your world view, seeing people as they are, judging nothing about them and accepting all of them because things like flaws and faults are only perceptions and opinions based on personal conditioning and societal influences .
Find yourself judging others? Please stop. It does not benefit you. They too have a mask that only they may remove in their time. They are learning life just like you and me.
I find that unconditional love of myself relieves me of any need to judge another. If I don’t judge them, I don’t fear them and hopefully by example, they will unmask themselves with me so we can be love.
Unconditional love for yourself leads to universal love for all encouraging all to remove their masks and remove the fear of being oneself.
My love for myself, is without condition or judgement, even on seemingly bad days which are few.
When I do something I think is wrong, I say, “self, stop that” and I laugh at myself and move on. When I do something good, I say, “self, do that some more” and I laugh at myself and move on.
I love all of my recovering life.
I invite you to subscribe to my blog by email, or follow me on Twitter, because I love to share my life with you and others who are turning those wtf (“why the fear”) moments into love. Be kind to yourself and share yourself with others.