there's one common element connecting the people that turn up at my Energy
Course, it's an underlying fear of being their authentic
selves, is this you?
I can completely relate to
this, having been tormented by bullies at an inner city school as a
youth. Protection became the name of the game. I played – ‘keep your
head down’, ‘don't get noticed’, ‘don't draw attention to yourself’.
These were the kind of conversations I would have with myself on a
daily basis. I did an excellent job of training my neurophysiology to
FEAR - False Evidence Appearing
Real - can happen when we sort and filter events and tell ourselves a
scary story and then convince ourselves it's true.
In NLP there's a distinction
that says 'the map is not the territory'. If you have a map of
a town, the map is not the town itself, it's a representation
of the town. The town on the other hand contains all the richness of
In the same way, we have an
internal map of who we think we are based on what we've
experienced and what significant others told us about who they
think we are. This is also not reality, it's just a dry 2D
representation of who we think we are and the conditioning we’ve taken
on board from parents, peers, society, the media etc.
I’m guessing that if you knew
who you really are and what you are really capable of doing with your
life, it would surprise you – “who you think you are is like a
grain of sand on the beach of who you really are” – Ram Dass
"Our deepest fear is not that we are
inadequate. Our deepest fear is that
we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our
frightens us. You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn't serve the
There's nothing enlightened
shrinking so that other people won't
feel insecure around you.
We were born to make
glory of God that is within us. It's not
just in some of us, it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light
unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same. As we are
liberated from our fear, our presence
automatically liberates others”.
- Marianne Williamson
Maybe the reason we had
previously been an easy target for dominant people, is because they
sensed we felt unsure about ourselves, maybe we held a belief that we
were less than powerful. Maybe we had written on our internal maps
'there be dragons here', and have spent a great deal of time
and thought in avoidance. Maybe we were never shown how courageous we
could be in the face of fear. Maybe we just need some tools.
Communicating Your Feelings and Needs
Nonviolent Communication: a Language of Life, developed by Marshall B. Rosenberg,
is a process that I have found to be extremely valuable and very handy
when conflict arises with other people. I find it even more enriching
when I use it to make sense of my own feelings and needs.
The process centres around four
- observing without blaming or criticising.
2. Feelings -
describing feelings in relation to what we’re observing.
3. Needs -
recognising the need or value behind the feelings.
4. Requests -
requesting an action we would like taken.
I find this process enables me
to quickly bring clarity when my mind has become confused or I have
been swamped by my feelings.
The feeling of knowing what my
needs are and communicating them in a clean and clear way, is a great
feeling of rock solid confidence and clarity. This enables me to not
get swamped by the heat of another person's feelings and gives me the
spaciousness to seek to understand what the other persons needs are behind
Befriending Fear - Fear
Credit for this fear busting idea goes to Jamie Smart. Go into a store
and ask for something ridiculous. For example, you could go into a
hardware store and ask for half a pound of apples. Do it with a
straight face. When they tell you they don't sell 'X', say OK thanks
and leave. Just do it and see what daring yourself to face a fear does
for your confidence.
The Gentle Art of Blessing - Pierre Pradervand
Another habit I have cultivated is to bless the people that I have
judged for triggering my fear, upset or hurt. This helps me to stay in
the endorphin producing part of my brain.
When we think poisonous
thoughts about another person, the only one affected is us - we
literally poison ourselves with the stress hormones we produce. So I
was intrigued by the idea of silently blessing another person’s ability
to listen, to be compassionate, to communicate in a better way or other
qualities I was needing from them.
I now realise that dominators
have a need to make people feel small so they can feel big - what does
that tell me about them? Bless em!
I have shifted my thinking to a
more useful model of seeing dominant people/energy as a blessing in
disguise, challenging me to find my strengths and stand up for myself,
honouring my feelings and communicating my needs in a clean way to help
the situation to resolve. I now see these situations as opportunities
to build courage, I have experienced that courage builds confidence.
I find it remarkable how
quickly a positive shift happens within me when I start creatively
playing with the way I code the images, sounds and feelings in my head
about the way I view a situation. I find it more useful and believe it
or not “fun”, to see these challenging people as structural engineers
come to test my home for weak spots that need attention – and they’re
doing it for free, cheers!
Fight, flight and avoidance
strips us of our courage and leaves us living our lives in a small way.
We may have unintentionally taught our nervous system a generalised anxiety
- avoidance - relief pattern. This happens when we have felt
relief at avoiding anxiety producing situations and our neurology has
generalised that pattern to avoid anything that resembles fear. The
trouble with this is that it stops us from growing and we can fall into
a pattern of hiding from life which can wreck our self esteem.
“You are the gift that you
have come into life to give” - are you giving it? Mahatma Gandhi
was once on a train leaving a station and a reporter ran up to his
carriage window and asked, "What message do you want to give to
the people of the world?" Gandhi replied, "My life is my
Is your life your message?
If not what would need to happen for that to be so?
If there was a miracle
tonight and you woke up with the courage to be your authentic self,
what would be different?
What would you see, hear
and feel that would confirm that shift has happened?
My blessings and thanks go to those teachers who have inspired this
article: Marshal Rosenberg, Pierre Pradervand, Jamie Smart, Ram Dass,
Mahatma Gandhi and special thanks to my tyrants and childhood bullies –