People often ask why we should care about personal development. Life is too short. Personal development is too hard. It takes time. It takes effort and dedication. Why bother?
Well, there're some obvious and well-known benefits, such as a more balanced mindset, resilience and a greater freedom to make better informed choices. But alongside the obvious benefits, there's The Great Journey of Self-Discovery. A discovery of some surprising gifts that we never knew we had, the new opportunities we never knew we'd dare take and the well hidden fears that we weren't aware of.
I'm thinking about my own hidden fears that were driving and shaping my mindset, my emotions and my actions. The fears that I never suspected that someone with my background, upbringing and lifestyle could have. The fears that were so well hidden that no one knew I had them, and I didn't know either.
So, what fears have I uncovered on my Great Journey of Self-Discovery?
1. Fear of the system
That's anything and everything to do with the system and I mean everything. You name it. Police, military, government institutions in general, bosses, any figure of authority.
How could a girl like me from a reasonably privileged background with a steady lifestyle and nice career develop such a fear? Who knows. Did I know I feared the system? Absolutely not.
2. Fear of loss and betrayal
Now, this one is really interesting and fundamental. I can just see this great fear giving birth to my smaller fears such as fear of close relationships, fear of trusting people and fear of people in general.
Someone reading this might think I had trouble with building and maintaining relationships, right? Wrong. I never ever had a problem with relationships, there were plenty of people to choose for partners and friends. Did they stick around? Absolutely. Did they find our relationships trusting, warm and reliable? Not so much. Manipulation, coldness, arrogance and blocked communication. Did I care I could lose the loving and caring people around me? Not at all. Like I said, there were plenty to choose from.
3. Fear of self-expression
Last but not least and, by the way, my favourite. On reflection though, it's only logical that someone fearing the system and loss and betrayal, will actually fear to express themselves. Logical, yet so not obvious.
Again, it's not like I was hiding in shadows all my life, on the contrary. Who could have thought I was actually afraid to express who I was? Perhaps I didn't know who I was behind all those well hidden fears.
Coming to light
As if my Great Journey of Self-Discovery wasn't fascinating on its own, it was even more fascinating (or scary?) how those fears resurfaced from the deep and dark core of my being.
It's only when I started observing, analysing and reshaping my negative mindset and my negative reactions - throughout the years, across various situations - it's only then when I started uncovering my fears. Slowly, but steadily. First uncovering the smaller fears that made some sense. Then bigger fears that didn't make much sense.
Until there came a time when the actual fear came to the surface and hit me with full force and there was the a-ha moment. Funny enough, it wasn't a logical fear formulated in a negative thought. It was a ferocious overwhelming feeling that came out of nowhere like a panic attack (panic attacks and me? really?). I could feel it, I experienced it to the core, I lived through it, I associated with it. It was immense and painful. I couldn't understand how someone like me could experience anything like that or why I would have a fear like that, but I acknowledged it and owned it. By that time I had already let go of my negative mindset stemming from that inner fear. So I just let the fear go, too. Each of them, one by one, over the years.
When I try to recall those overwhelming fears, they seem to be like dreams or distant memories. I don't associate with them any more. However, I always think - what's next on my Great Journey of Self-Discovery?
Read my post Three Reasons to Stop Fearing Life