The past couple months have been difficult for me on a very personal level. Apparently all my studies and personal growth over the last couple years were preparing me for this huge task of confronting my inadequacies, accepting them, and learning how to live with the knowledge that I may never truly change certain aspects of myself. In keeping with my desire for truth I'm not going to share with anyone my real fears. It doesn't matter. What matters is that they exist and I'm working on them. No matter what it is the process is the same. The struggle is the same. Not knowing will keep everyone unbiased and hopefully introspective. That old serenity prayer that everyone knows... I finally get it. It's about external influence, but it's also about self discovery.
There are things I have always known about myself that I accept because they're easy and they're nice. The truly difficult part is confronting the things I don't accept, which are the mean and fearful parts. I have been confronting my huge fears (fear is what makes people mean). At first I found a few that had a beginning and an end. I started being fearful after **event** and those I can change. They don't change immediately, mind you. It's a constant struggle. I have to remind myself of everything I've learned and try to act on truth rather than fear. It's exhausting. It's emotionally draining and it's very difficult to stay motivated and non-judgmental of myself as I constantly slip into old patterns. I had to invent cleansing rituals that would solidify a sense of completion... a little bit at a time. Every time I take a meditative bath I let go of a little more of my old thoughts and patterns, inching closer to truth. I have mantras and quotes and exercises. I take classes and write. All this work and support and it's still some of the most difficult tasks I've undertaken. That's the courage. Courage isn't about doing what scares other people or what gives you adrenaline. Real courage is confronting an old demon that no one may even know about and deciding to fight it until it goes away. It's silencing an old voice in your head that has been telling you that you can't do something so you shouldn't even try. It's pulling yourself out of depression or keeping yourself from slipping into it. It would be easy for me to bungee jump. But, confronting my old gremlins who tell me I'm not **whatever**... is so... damn... hard. It's doable though and I'm making progress every day. Even the smallest steps will eventually get you up the mountain.
Then there are other fears. The ones that have no beginning to pinpoint. The ones that will keep me from realizing my dreams or living a fulfilling life because they're part of my personality. What I have learned is that the serenity to accept the things I cannot change doesn't mean giving up. It means accepting the fact that no matter what I do, some things will terrify me. They may terrify me less, but I will always be afraid of **this**. It will make me anxious and may even make me cry every time. However, I still do it. That's the thing... I stopped trying to fix it. I let myself cry and be anxious, but I still do it. If my initial thought is "I want to do this thing" immediately followed by a million excuses why I can't, then I should do it. God was talking the first time, the rest was all me and I need to just sit down and be quiet. I accept these fears the same way I accept my nose, my hair color, my eye color, my age. This is what I have to work with. This is what I am, and I can do **this**. I have to confront them and deal with the fear as I would deal with any other emotion. Feel the fear and do it anyway.
So that's what I have been up to... a lot of self-realization and change. A lot of challenging myself. A lot of successes and failures. A whole lot of crying and anxiety. I thought as I conquered fear there would be this sense of accomplishment and pride. Maybe a little, but mostly I felt drained and discouraged... mad that certain things are so difficult for me in the first place. Encouraged that I'm taking steps to be better, but extremely exhausted as I climb my mountain of fear.
If you find yourself in a similar situation I have some advice. Be kind to yourself, change takes time and every tiny step is significant in moving you towards a better you. Don't worry if you aren't successful the first time. When you're truly ready, you will be able to do it. It took me years of confronting some of the same issues and fears before I was even able to see they weren't true. I was sure I was right! Be patient with yourself. Don't rush change. If you rush it, it won't stick. I told myself I had conquered a certain fear and... no... but, I kept telling myself anyway and it only made it much worse. Commune with whatever higher power you believe in: your inner voice, God, Allah, the Universe, Mother Earth, energy... it will help you find the answers you need.
Now, I'm going to get ready for painting class :)