When I first became aware of my own levels of constant fear I thought it was created by circumstances, or other people. When my first business took a nosedive and in those couple of years when I tried to get two other businesses going in succession I was sure it was caused by my bank debt, scumbag businessmen’s betrayals and there seeming to be absolutely no solution. I didn’t know that I wasn’t in my power. Didn’t even know what personal power was. Didn’t know that my enemy was within. In fact I got pretty pissed off and defensive if anybody tried to suggest it. Actually I just got more scared!
But gradually I’ve come to see that my levels of fear reside within me anyway, and they aren’t caused by the outside world, or my circumstances or people. They’ve been caused by the reality of my almost complete powerlessness. Life is very scary when you’re not in your power, because you’re at the mercy of everybody’s whim. And you draw into your world people who need to abuse, who need to throw their weight around.
Whooo! I get a hot flush even writing about it!
Since I didn’t know any of that, the terror I’ve been conscious of has been that I’ll end up on the street, with no food and no place to live. That one still terrorizes me – and can be triggered by the smallest of provocations, like my broadband allocation unexpectedly running out yesterday. But the reality is that even though I’ve often had no money in my purse and none in my bank (that’s the norm!) and very little food in my fridge, I’ve always been able to garner enough money to stay in a decent place and I’ve always been able to eat something. So my fear that I’ll end up at zero has never come to fruition.
Hallo! Ergo my fear isn’t about anything real in the world.
I know now that the real generator of my fear is a belief in my powerlessness, that I can’t protect myself and that I can’t access what I need to get ahead. That’s what it’s really about.
That’s all she wrote.
Well, not quite. It comes from low self-esteem and all the things that contributed to it while it was being formed. It’s the awful terror of aloneness, the dark knowledge of worthlessness which means there will be no solution of any sort for anything big or small because only worthy people deserve solution. It’s the absence of the experience of unconditional love, protection and promotion.
Fear. It gets triggered by people’s behavior or material circumstances, but it’s not a symptom of those things, it’s a symptom of powerlessness of one form or another. When your powerlessness is physical your life can be actually under threat, but my fear isn’t that kind, and nor is my powerlessness. It’s emotional. Doesn’t make the fear any less potent and potentially crippling.
Still pinch myself that I’ve been given this amazing opportunity to learn how to overcome my fear. It’s a work in progress, mind you, but at least it’s progress. Yes?
One thing I know for sure, if I’ve got anger suppressed, the world becomes a totally terrifying place to me. So anger gets overlaid with fear. Move the anger and both anger and fear dissipate. Without any physical or material change in circumstances.
If fear presents on its own, and I don’t attend to it, I usually experience rage or sorrow! Get somebody to hear me and hold me or do what I need right deep inside me, and all the emotions dissipate.
If sorrow presents on its own, and I don’t deal with it, I just get more sore. Want to curl up in a ball and hide from the world.
People often say to me you made money before, you can do it again, and also that I have all this talent and intelligence, creativity blah blah blah. It’s good to hear it, but the truth is those things alone don’t empower me. I had them all and I still went bankrupt. That’s what was so scary. All my blah blah blah was utterly useless to me. Sobering thought, huh?
So to get out of this hole and MAKE SURE I NEVER FALL BACK IN IT, I’ve needed to develop another part of me. The part that isn’t so easily visible. In fact, when you don’t have much of it, it’s not at all visible!!
Inherent talent or ability is like great hardware capacity and brilliant software. Useless if the operating system is dodgy.
So is it self-esteem per se or just entitlement that forms the operating system? Jury’s out on that one, kind of, but I’m leaning towards entitlement. Look at all the celebrities who have achieved exceptional things in the world, but who clearly don’t have good self esteem overall.
Obviously one wants the whole deal. Or I do, and that’s what I’ll work towards for ever, until I die and presumably on into the next phase of existence whatever it is. But for now, I’ll take whatever entitlement I can grab. Really need to make my way in the world, and have a materially safe place. Need to know that I can do something independent that’s fulfilling, exciting, and that generates money. Need to do it. Once upon a time, survival seemed like a big ask for me.
The hell with that, I want much more! I want to FLOURISH. Survival is no fun.
Everybody’s needs and challenges are different, but I know that up to this point my need has been to learn that I have value and deserve and can have back-up – which is not the same as rescue, it requires that I use the back-up for something I act on, like study, or create a business etc. – to learn there’s not something inherently wrong with me that makes me undeserving of love. But also I’ve needed to learn that the world isn’t a punitive place, that there’s order, that everything originates from good, that I have choice, that I can change in the way that I make choices. I’ve needed a parent figure in my world who understands the human psyche and has a practical understanding of cause and effect in human behavior. Someone who I can take my troubles and my triumphs to, who listens and understands, who has answers that make sense to me, who celebrates with me, who never judges, who knows when I can’t see it that I am succeeding, who never doubts me or thinks I’m a fuck-up.
Who never walks out. Who’s grounded and real and human and normal. Who knows how to face challenges in a way that brings real results.
Somebody who could be patient and who I could learn to trust. So that I’d have the experience of a trustworthy rock-solid person in my world to replace that old experience of my mother.
I’ve needed to learn how to feel my emotions, identify them, express them and how to see what need they represent, how to know that what my mind terrorizes me with isn’t the reality.
I’ve needed to learn what it means to say it’s all in your head. It doesn’t mean you’re a lunatic. It means what the mind tells us isn’t always the truth.
Lots of things I’ve needed, and will need for ever. A different way of doing myself completely. That’s 6 years I’ve been working on that, pretty solidly. Doesn’t sound like much fun, does it, but actually, I’ve never felt more alive in my life, and a lot of it has been discovering what fun is!
And now I’m drawing more and more real love, support and opportunity into my world as my self esteem continues to grow, not as a theory or an intellectualization, but as a reality.
Money brings relief, but it doesn’t change the root cause of fear. In and of itself it doesn’t empower you. It’s the other way round. Address the root cause, where the fear comes from, and the money problems clear up.
Hard to see it sometimes…
And Rome, alas, wasn’t built in a day! But it was built. Let me never forget that.