This week I have been looking at shame and embarrassment particularly in relation to doing things outside the norm – looking differently, smelling differently, sticking out in some way and being different.
In my past, I have deliberately decided to do things against the norm. There has however always been a fear within me. It was also this fear that compelled me that challenge myself – because I did not want to be controlled by this experience. Though, in retrospect, I can see that it was not effective. By going against my fears, I were not able to change them long term. And now I am able to understand why that is the case. Because in going against my fears, I still do not understand them, and I am not directing them – I am instead trying to force them back by going into a opposite reaction.
Thus, the solution to living without the fear of being different is by understanding where this fear comes from. In my case, this fear is very much cultural. It is a part of my upbringing to not want to stick my neck out, to not want to be different – I have been taught that it is best to not cause to much raucous. And the underlying fear is that of fearing being judged by others – having others talk behind my back – having others dislike me and want to bring me down.
Let us take a look at this fearing of being judged by others. What is it really about? It is really a fear of loss – fear of loosing the positive way in which I perceive people see me. This indicates that I build my self-image on how I perceive others view me – thus in order for me to have a positive view of me – I feel that I need to have others see me that same way. There are a couple of reasons as to why that is simple not a practical way to design my image of myself; firstly – it makes me dependent on others – I have to continuously use others to assess me and build my image and idea of myself. Secondly, it makes me vulnerable to fluctuations, changes and movements in my world. If someone have some form of reaction towards me, it will impact and ripple and effect the way I see myself. That is not what I want.
If my self-image would be stable and sustainable – I would be stable regardless of how others view me – and my understanding/image/view of myself would be something that I create and see directly – there would not be a wall of perception that the information must pass through first. Most importantly, I would not be dependent upon anyone else telling me who I am – because I would know who I am. This would remove any fear of being different – because I would know who I am – I would know what I do – and there would not be that anxiety within me as to what others might or might not think about me.
Thus – what are the solutions that I can apply when I notice this fear is coming up within me?
What I see as important is that I remind myself who is the creator of my self-image – and that I make a decision in that moment to create my own self-image – to make sure that I do not depend on others to give me a view and understanding of myself – but that it is my own. To also understand that – the fears coming up within me are not created by anyone else but by myself – it is thus my relationship with me that is being uncovered and not anything else.
Practically speaking – I can take a breath, straighten my back, push out my chest, saying with my body language that I AM HERE – THIS IS WHO I AM – and then continue applying myself within what I was doing – and not accepting and allowing myself to be limited and diminished within fears and anxieties.
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