I have a confession to make, what I have to say is as much my truth as it is yours. You may not admit it, or perhaps, truly can’t see that it is, but in time, like me, it will come in to view, clearer than you’d hoped and more painful than you believed it would. The hideous, the grotesque, and the unspoken, rearing its ugly head and shattering every illusion you believed. Most of you have at some point in your life, watched the Wizard of Oz, one of the most iconic, classic movies of all time. The profound scene which I speak of, and there are a few, is where Dorothy is trying desperately to get back to Kansas, when she first confronts the “Great Oz” who is the only person who can help her do this, his stipulation for helping her is that she must go and confront the Wicked Witch of the West, and defeat her, and when she has done so, she is to return and he will send her back home. So she does this, and gleefully returns to him with the witches broomstick in tow, as proof she is dead. Only now the “Great Oz” falls flat on his promise and tries to intimidate Dorothy by insisting that she return another day. In her furor, and the furor of her cohorts, (Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, and Scarecrow) over him not holding up his end of the bargain, her dog Toto, goes to investigate this curtain Oz is hiding behind and unmasks this seemingly normal, nothing great about him, man, exposing him for the phony that he is, thus shattering this persona that he was this great, powerful, albeit ingenious force to be reckoned with. Shattering the illusion of what they all deemed fearful. The metaphor is not lost on me, or anyone who watched this movie. Things are not always how they appear, and FEAR is the more often than not, this paralyzing, powerful, intimidating thing, we at some point in our lives all concede to, that seems much larger than life, and a hell of a lot more scarier than the great and powerful Oz ever could be, but if you face it head on you will find your way home! I know you probably didn’t need the synopisis, but I didn’t spoil the ending! 😉
Yes my friends, this is the scariest truth you will ever accept. Fear. But see that’s the fucked up thing, fear takes its form in many, many, shapes and sizes, none any less menacing then the other. What do I mean? Well for me, for many years, I harbored a deep seeded fear of two things, not being enough and lack of self-confidence. This was the ugly beast that was just below the surface. I didn’t understand it for a very long time, and felt there was something defective in me. What it did for me was keep me stuck in unsafe, abusive relationships, it took my power from me, and made me believe that others around me knew better for me, my life, and my path. It kept me from achieving greater things for fear of failing, and not being accepted. It took many years of therapy and work, harder than any other work I have ever done, including motherhood. It forced me to look at some painful truths in order to heal, but what it did was a blessing that started me on a path to healing, self acceptance, and a greater capacity to love not only my self, but those in my life in a non-judgmental, purely spiritual, and unconditional way.
I believe that every one of us is clinging to a deep seeded fear that prevents us from accepting and acknowledging sheer bliss. For some people it is the fear of abandonment, this kind of fear usually begins early in childhood, with a traumatic event of divorce, or death of a parent, or just parental detachment of a neglectful caregiver, for others it is the fear of inadequacy, for some it is the fear of trying new things, or the fear of intimacy. Whatever the fear is, it will undoubtedly keep you stuck, keep you down, and keep you from achieving true happiness. Many people naively believe that being happy relies on outside circumstances to exact this feeling, such as more money, a better job, a better spouse, that it is so difficult to see that the key to being happy is within our grasp if we recognize and acknowledge that happiness begins with us, in us the moment we accept that we are no longer bound by fear, and we pull the curtain away and dissect the fear. Piece by piece we chip away at it, face it head on, and show it whose boss. Is it easy? Fuck no, this shit is hard. Can you do it alone? Maybe, if you understand psychology in-depth, and are persistent and unrelenting in its pursuit in a disciplined, regimented way, which for me I assuredly am not, and to be honest many times we don’t recognize it, as with myself, for many years later, which is why I believe the best and most effective way to deal with deep-rooted fear is psychotherapy. Please don’t misunderstand, I am not suggesting that you can’t overcome fear without psychotherapy, what I am saying is that for deep-rooted fear that you can’t even recognize or may not know its origin, you will need further reflection and intervention. I didn’t even realize I was fearful, I had severe anxiety, but I didn’t know the cause. I thought it was a normal byproduct of my defective mind. Turns out that there is most often a deep rooted cause, and for me with help I came to see what it was. Am I cured completely, fuck no! I am however, a brand new me, better than I was a decade ago, stronger with each passing day, and more honest and sober than I have been in years. Progress, determination, dedication to a life long process of self-awareness and most importantly wanting to be a champion in healing for my children,and selfishly wanting to feel better and just be better!
I believe that at any given moment, most of us are not who people believe we truly are. This is why I use the term smoke and mirrors, as the magical illusionist, some are better salesmen at selling themselves either because they recognize that something in them is amiss and need for you to not look too deeply into them, and ask too many questions, or they are mostly self-aware, and want to divert you from thinking about anything but them, still others are so delusional they have mental illness attached, pathological psychosis as in sociopath, making them appear almost virtuous to the unsuspecting eye, but far more dangerous in their allure, and then there are the small percentage who truly have achieved nirvana, and you recognize this almost immediately when you are in their presence because you no longer feel anxious, you are immediately at peace and feel energized, nor do you feel that you, or they have to “put on airs” as my Mom would say, which was Irish slang for someone pretending to be someone or something they are not. My Mom was so cool that way, always a straight shooter, you always got the truth and always knew where you stood. Man do I really miss that beautfiul woman!
So how do you begin to recognize if fear is governing you in some way. Here are some of the sneaky ways we try to overcompensate for this fickle fuck, called fear.
- We have a strong need to be perfect. Many people who live in fear of being inadequate try to overcompensate by being perfect in the way they talk, walk, dress, constantly dieting, keeping a perfect house, trying to be the perfect spouse and mother. I did this for many, many years. Not only is it exhausting, but it is nearly impossible, OK, that’s the perfectionist in me, scratch that bullshit, it is IMPOSSIBLE, there I said it. Progress!
- We have a strong desire to be liked. I don’t mean the way we all want to be liked. I mean attached to this like it is a religion. You over extend yourself, you say yes when you really want to say no, you have what Oprah brilliantly coined as, “the disease to please,” you say and do the right thing to keep friends, to maintain peace, to be a better spouse, often times paying the price with your emotional well-being, as with being a perfectionist, it is fucking impossible to be liked by everyone, trust me, it was hard pill to swallow, and for me to accept, and still is sometimes, but now I just smile politely and say fuck it, my dog loves me, and most days my kids!
- Getting sick a lot! I just got over having the worst case of the flu in many years. It lingered for over a week, and I know that I got sick because I was experiencing a tremendous amount of stress, above what one considers normal everyday. If you are still one of those people who believes that stress doesn’t impact your well-being, it would behoove you to re-examine that theory if you are constantly getting every bug that comes down the pike. Often times it is not so easy to understand that fear is driving many of the ailments we have. Many illnesses are deep-rooted in our psyche and again I urge you to read https://www.amazon.com/You-Can-Heal-Your-Life/dp/0937611018.
- Aceepting what is. This is without a doubt one of the single most important red flags that fear is just below the surface. I strongly believe that everyone has a predestined path when they are born, and that until it is recognized and achieved we will always experience some sort of personal turmoil. It can be in the form of anxiety and depression, a feeling of incompleteness, a lack luster career that doesn’t satisfy us, a nagging feeling that we were destined for something better. It doesn’t matter if your passion is picking up garbage, and this in not meant to demean anyone who does this for a living, if you do it with all of your heart and it fulfills you spiritually, emotionally, and you do it with intent and purpose. We are not here to be mediocre at life, we are here to achieve greatness, excel, and make the world a better place for ourselves, our children, and humanity, and if you are not living a life that is intentional, full of purpose, and authentic, you are not living! Reread that and let it sink in. It is profound, it is righteous, it is truth! I know….sometimes I even surprise myself! Preach!
So the take away is this, we are all going about our busy lives almost on autopilot, the days, months and years are ticking away, and many times we don’t even stop to recognize what is going on. We become so accustomed to feeling this fear it becomes a familiar friend, it hides within, sometimes going a whole lifetime with this turmoil inside, unchecked, and governing all we do. Don’t wait another day to at least examine what fear may be holding you back. Fear is not a bad thing, it keeps us safe when things are amiss and can be a blessing in that capacity to keep us from peril. Fear becomes paralyzing however, when it keep us from doing what we were meant to be doing, fulfilling our destiny and following our dreams. The first step to uncovering what lies beneath is to begin to recognize the signs that we may be harboring deep seeded fear. Once we recognize that, we can begin to get a game plan to move past the fear and accomplish our goals. It doesn’t happen overnight, we are a work in progress, but with hard work, perseverance, and strong desire for inner peace, we can face this bitch head on and show her whose boss! I am telling you, right here, right now, you can do this. Just like the monsters under the bed we faced as kids, we can slay this shit and make it happen! Fuck fear, you got this!