Do we want others to fear us?
For many years of my life my answer to this question was yes.
I grew up afraid of the world—afraid to fail, afraid to be imperfect, afraid to be vulnerable.
All this fear that I had cultivated had built a wall around my heart. I protected myself from my fears by living inside a fortress. I believed that if I never had to connect, be open, or be vulnerable then I would never be hurt.
Out of fear, I created the world and the people in it as something separate from myself.
I wanted to be cold, tough, and detached.
Especially with other males, the underlying intent was always to appear threatening. I wanted others to fear me so that I could avoid revealing myself.
It was an attempt by my ego to protect itself—to make others feel lesser, so that I could feel better.
It manifested in my personality as pride.
It is amazing how easily our ego can lead us astray.
The truth as I have come to know it, is that by emanating fear, I was bringing more fear into my life. I became more afraid, more closed off, and more separated.
While I appeared standoffish and confrontational, there was a soft, shy, and vulnerable person hiding underneath, starving for human connection. And for the longest time, I had no idea.
I blamed it on others. Telling myself that the people that made me feel small were “idiots”, “assholes”, or “dicks”.
Basically, I told myself whatever I had to in order to not admit to myself that I was shy, afraid, or intimidated.
As I cultivated awareness through yoga and meditation, I began to open up to the notion that the energy that I was putting out into the world was the energy that I was receiving.
That is when I was finally able to ask myself: Do I want others to fear me?
I had to laugh, because the notion seemed so crazy! If fear is the opposite of love, and I want more love in my life, then why was I emanating fear?
It didn’t make any sense, but I had convinced myself that it was true—that being feared was a viable strategy for interacting with others.
Asking myself that question and giving myself permission to be honest allowed me to see my own suffering—to accept my shyness, my proclivity for detachment, and my fear.
It also allowed me to acknowledge these feelings in others. Instead of closing off to people that made me feel small, I was finally able to practice meeting them (and myself) with empathy. It is still a practice. It always will be.
The more awareness I bring to my feelings of detachment, the more I am able to vanquish my fears.
There are still times when I watch myself bottling up—detaching from the world so that I don’t have to deal with situation, the circumstances, or myself. But now the difference is that awareness allows me to watch it unfold.
Through this process, I am learning to love the parts of me that need it the most.
It all begins with honesty and acceptance. By accepting myself as I am, I can actually identify the parts that need the love the most.
My heart is opening slowly. It opens more and more every day.
The blood that beats out of my heart is fresh, bright, and bountiful. This is all so new.
I am raw. I am still insecure. I am vulnerable. And yet, I have found the beauty in my suffering—in everyone’s suffering. We all have the desire to connect to each other, we just have to give ourselves permission to do so.
Being open and vulnerable, as scary as it can be, is the key.
As I take down the walls that I built around my heart, brick by brick, light and love come pouring out. Some days, I put up some new bricks, but those ones are much easier to take down than the ones that have been cemented there for years.
As my personal experiences have become consecrated to my spiritual growth, I am confident that the wall will continue to come down.
Today, I am softer, more open, and more full of love than I was the day before. I am finally allowing myself to connect to people in the ways that I have always dreamed of.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor Apprentice: Emma Ruffin / Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Liza23q/Deviant Art