Updated: Mar 9, 2020
They say that all of our actions are born out of two emotions, love or fear. This may seem like it is oversimplifying, but if you really get down to the root of things, you will find that this is indeed true.
Take insecurity for example, something that many of us experience at some point. If you really reflect and go down to where it stems from, you will find that it lies in the fear of not being good enough.
Fear can dictate so many things in our life and hold us back, but only if we let it if we let it. By becoming aware of the fear that may be driving (or paralyzing) us, we are taking the first step in overcoming it and regaining control of our lives.
I find that in my life, yoga mirrors so many things that happen off the mat. If I am afraid to try a position on the mat, there is likely a situation in my life that I am holding myself back from in fear.
One recent situation is my hesitation to do a headstand. I have been practicing yoga for nearly 8 years now. I have the physical strength and alignment knowledge to do this posture, yet I am unable to successfully stand on my head without the support of the wall behind me. Even though most time I don't even need the wall, simply knowing it's there is like my security blanket.
This fear that I've been experiencing on the mat has prompted me to evaluate where I might be holding back in my everyday life. It turns out that this very article was part of it!
My desire for everything to be perfect before I put it out there in the world hold me back and sometimes my projects never see the light of day. Even though I had this article written, it took me nearly a month to publish it. The fear of my words not being perfect and not sounding eloquent enough kept me frozen.
Don't be afraid to fall…
I've fallen many times doing a headstand. I have never been injured from falling, yet the fear is still there. What falling has shown me is what not to do and how to engage my muscles to achieve the proper alignment. Without these falls, I would not have the knowledge of how to properly do the posture.
Having the ability to do something and wasting it for fear of failure has to be one of the most unfortunate things. So many people waste the talent that they have because they are afraid that they might fail.
The truth is that you might fail. In fact, you probably will. However, these failures will build you up even stronger than you were before. Learning lessons through experience is probably one of the best ways to learn.
Where does this fear come from?
I blame some of this fear of failure on our society. We are expected to live up to impossibly high expectations. Social media is a huge culprit of this, flaunting posed and airbrushed images in front of us and passing them off as "real life".
The reality is that people openly share their successes, but are more reluctant to share their failures. Both on social media and in real life, we see the proposals, weddings, new jobs and successful business ventures. What people don't share is how many failures, rejections and breakups it took to get to that point.
Keep in mind that everyone fails. Peel your eyes away from airbrushed images in the media and the posed images on Instagram. Nobody's life is that perfect and your journey is unique to you. Hold with you the belief that each time you fall, you will get up stronger than you were before.
What are you missing out on…
For years I lied to myself saying, "I'm better off single. I operate better that way." I told this to myself over and over and eventually believed it. Where did it come from? Fear!
It was only after much soul searching and self-reflection that I could understand the root cause of this. All these years, it was my fear of rejection and getting hurt that kept me single. I had built up an impenetrable wall to ensure that I would stay safe. This unwillingness to make myself vulnerable is the reason that I kept attracting emotionally unavailable men.
I think this is a common story. A lot of people may say they want someone who is open and honest, yet they themselves are not ready to completely open up. This will never work, you attract what you put out.
I will never know what I missed out all those years of living with my walls built, but what I do know is the magic of opening up. Not one week after consciously deciding to open up, I met a wonderful man. He has all the qualities I was looking for in a partner and I know that if I still had my walls up, I would have found a way to distance myself from him.
Fear of getting hurt, fear of failure, fear of being alone is what keeps us back in life. It prevents us from starting a business. It keeps us from seeing the world. It can keep us single or in abusive relationships. It keeps in us from truly loving ourselves and others.
Fear can be debilitating, but the beautiful thing is that is can be overcome. We are so much stronger than we think!
Photo by Matt Ordeshook