If there's one common element connecting the people
that turn up at my Energy
Excellence 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 play small.
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
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 darkness, that
frightens us. You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn't serve the
There's nothing enlightened about
shrinking so that other people won't
feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the
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 shine, we
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.
Skillfully Communicating Your Feelings and
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 steps:
1. Observations - 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 Busting Exercise
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.
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 the 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
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 message".
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 and special thanks to my tyrants and childhood bullies
– bless em!
(C) R. Amir Norris 2009