Today is one of those days when I am quite angry of myself because I am still allowing my fears to control my life and behavior. I still have a problem defending my opinion and expressing things important to me. From one point I am trying to be peacemaker even if I see sometimes I will not benefit from that but still because of fear I do it. From another point there are people who just express whatever dissatisfaction they have without caring about the outcome or considering how other person would feel. And the thought that I am compromising my life because of these kind of people makes me angry. Angry that I am not able to fully step up for myself and I treat myself as a less equal.
But maybe it is good to have a bit of an anger inside because it gives me a kick to push myself further. To just have more and more confidence to not allow fear to control me and to be one more step closer to reach my full potential. I am for sure on the way to have a better self understanding but moments like that when I just compromise too much where I should not have raises a bit of a frustration. So today I will use it to my advantage to not forget and keep moving forward because no one deserves to compromise too much of their own life and happiness. For some it comes naturally but for some like me I need to practice it until I make it.
Remember how much of yourself you are compromising to meet the approval of others. Twisting your personality until it breaks completely. Rachel Wolchin
I have recently started to notice that my practice of speaking up and just doing things which have made me really uncomfortable for many years has been finally working. To finally starting to believe in results and seeing that I can overcome myself has taken me over 1 year and it is definitely an ongoing process. But to see that I can look over my fears and step by step express my true self strengthens my hope that it is possible to be free. Free as I have always wanted to be but did not dare to be.
Therefore, today I am grateful that I was able to start my journey of practice and no matter how hard or scary it has been I still have managed to push through and move forward. With the practice also came better understanding on how my mind and emotions function. What are the triggers for anxiety and my fears and how to better reduce them. And after each time I pushed myself I realized that actually it is not that terrible and I can do it next time again.
So today I can say that it is true that only by practicing things which make us afraid and uncomfortable will help us overcome them. With time it will get easier and fears will slowly decrease and one day they will be so quiet that you will be living in peace with yourself. Note that practice period for each person is different so do not be discouraged by how long it takes and just push through – because you deserve to be free.
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear. Mark Twain
Last few weeks I am more intensively feeling resistance from my scared part which is always hiding and choosing excuses over action. Especially when it comes to go out or do something new and unknown. It is just quietly whispering: “Why should I do that? It is better to stay as it is. It can be only more stressful and riskier.” And so these past few weeks it is more like a fight with my own self. The more I question this part the more resistance I get. It expands to uncomfortable feeling and pressure within. It feels so comfortable to give in and stay safe but from the other side I know it is wrong. And I will say that I have been mostly doing that and staying safe. But then it still does not feel right, it does not bring peace and safety as I thought. It is just for a moment but the day after I know I am feeling again disappointed because I did not do something that could be beneficial to me. And knowing that I chose fear over myself makes me a bit angry.
It always comes to feeling like I am standing in front of a big wall and the other side is just too unknown to be explored. And then I just feel like I am living in a prison made by myself. Knowing that I am the only thing standing from being free seems really easy and I have set myself free 100 of times. But somehow I am still not free or at least free as I would want. I can say I have improved a lot but knowing that my resistant part is still there sometimes makes things harder.
One thing I can say is that one of the biggest steps towards being free from my prison was acknowledging that something is not working right. That the way I was living before was not anymore suitable for me. I was far away from events which caused certain behavior and I should have put them behind me. However, after I started to question myself I realized I am still stuck in those events. So through past year I am learning how to trust people and that I do not need to fear them. I learned that in general people do not wish me bad as I have always imagined and that it is ok to meet with them. One benefit of going out and not letting fear take over was joining a German class where I learned that people are mostly good and they are not against me. And for me this was a big realization. Because I had always thought first that they will hate me and be against me. It also makes easier to speak up and accept that others will disagree and it is ok so.
You can just start with asking one question to yourself if you feel something is not working right and then there will come more and more until you will start to get some answers. These questions will guide you to things and places where you have always wanted to be but did not dare to try. So step by step.
Find comfort in questioning yourself. Bryant Mcgill
I have been reading a book about understanding social anxiety and one of its chapters described how people with social anxiety do not recognize their strengths and the first thought that comes in their mind is their flaws and weaknesses. And once asked to say what are their strengths it is somehow harder to do it. While reading this I was trying to do that for myself but there I was a bit stuck and unable to clearly say what my strengths are. But immediately I was able to say what I thought was wrong with me and which weaknesses I had. Then I realized that because of this first reaction and instant self-doubt I am thinking that I do not deserve anything better I just need to settle for something even if I do not feel that it is the best fit for me. Why I should speak up and ask for what I want if I do not think I am good enough? It is just an unnecessary action and anyway I will be not able to have what I want.
But before I had never thought that maybe I do deserve and I have a right to freely say what I want without feeling guilty or afraid. Even though I am practicing this approach more and more in my daily communication there are moments where it is harder then I thought. Mostly when I know what I want will be different from the other person and that it could lead to a disappointment or maybe an argument. And here I still sometimes sell myself short and put my opinion second and maybe even decide to not express it. This is what I need to learn a bit more and take step by step because before always the first thought was no I cannot and to change that takes time. Only while practicing again and again I will be able to feel more secure about my decisions because that is what matters to me.
So in order to think how weak I am because of these few times I did not speak up I will say that it takes a strong person to overcome self built prison and really move forward with a change for the better. And this is one of the biggest strengths I have. We all deserve the best for us no matter how hard it can sometimes get.
The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of us but those who win battles we know nothing about.
The chaos inside me for now has been decreased and silenced. However, still some rushing thoughts remind me of those days. And so my rational thinking is stepping in and I am being able to better evaluate my behavior and to decrease irrational fears. It also helps better keep calm before speaking up for myself and expressing my thoughts even if they would differ from someone else. Even though in silence I have always had an opinion but saying it loudly was not my strongest ability and somehow scary.
During my practice of speaking up and having different opinions I realized that for some people and even for some family members it was not considered as a positive trend. Even though they seemed to be fine with me before now when I had something to say it was different. I could feel some distance from them because I was always the one saying yes, agreeing on most of the things and always supporting them even if I thought it was not such a good idea. So they got used to my old behavior and now when I am trying to speak up it is something strange and unusual. I am not validating their behavior and putting them first as it was before.
I started to notice this pattern recently and it made me feel quite strange and also somehow lonely. Since I have used to seek validation from others and not being judged it was quite sad to receive such a different reactions and especially from family. I have always thought that family should stick up for each other and support each other no matter what. But from another point I should not be surprised because for the most of the time it has been about them and supporting them no matter what. And I would do that again but now with more respect towards myself.
It also explains my question why I had so many unsuccessful relationships with others. I have always thought that it is better to be silence and it is easier to say yes. Then I would have no disagreements and people would just like me. But it do not guarantee that it is the right relationship, that it will be good also for me. So now when I am receiving such a different reactions I am grateful for that even though I am feeling sad. Because now I can clearly see who is there for me no matter what and this gives me a motivation to try to speak up more and to not be afraid so much of others. Even more it gives me a hope that one day I will be able to be free as it was meant to be for me.
I know it can be really scary and sometimes too hard but no matter what reactions you receive do not be afraid to speak up because only by doing so you can understand for yourself who is there to stay and who is there to go for the best.
Speak up, because the day you don’t speak up for the things that matter to you is the day your freedom truly ends.
Yesterday I thought I had enough push to speak up for myself and ask for some explanations. I thought I am well prepared and I knew the things I will say and how I will argument my reasons. I promised myself that until my 30th birthday I will be treating myself much better and basically overcome my fears of speaking up and judgment. And I thought I am so ready to do it..
I thought I am calm and I am not feeling any anxiety and so I went in the room to speak. I started my saying about the subject and after first words my voice started to shake and I could not believe inside me that it is happening again. I had such a fear to continue my speech, to argument my thoughts, that I was unconsciously starting to avoid the issues about which I truly wanted to talk and I just made it sound like I had some small worries. However, I managed to ask my main question and to get an answer it was just a small part of the whole purpose. After returning to my place I felt so devastated about myself. The only thought was how I could let myself down and allow fears again to rule me. I thought that I have managed to get better in this area but somehow that day was exception. And it hit me quit hard and that evening I was feeling upset and I just could not believe I let myself be weak. Even more knowing that in a few days I will have my birthday meant I have not succeeded and I have failed.
But today during the day I somehow gained back my perspective and even though my first thoughts were that I have failed it was not so. Actually I did not fail anything because I tried to speak up even though I was afraid. And that makes the biggest difference – before I would not do it or tried to avoid it as much as I can. And I just need to remember that more often and be more kinder to myself, especially in situations when the first thought wants to be – how you could fail. Also I should not have set any unrealistic deadlines for myself and expect miracles – it takes time. It is all about training and willingness. Because I want to get better – I will.
Be kinder to yourself. And then let your kindness flood the world. Pema Chödron