Many years ago, before I began to work with mindfulness and similar holistic practices, the place I was most afraid of was inside my own head.
Following my parents’ divorce, I had a lot of issues. I was six years old, my dad moved halfway across the country, and I was one of those sensitive smart kids (good grades in school combined with abstract fears of, say, nuclear warfare over other boogeymen).
Because I was clever, I learned to express in words emotions my therapists sought — but did not feel them. I could tell you how they looked and what they were supposed to feel like but didn’t feel them for myself.
As you might imagine, this proved problematic over the years. It wasn’t until I began working with mindfulness, conscious reality creation, and such — that I was open to gaining access to my emotions.
In my early thirties, I met the best psychologist I ever worked with. Together, we discovered when and how I’d shut off my emotions as a child. We came to realize how I’d developed the ability to explain them without feeling them. It was the first, true, in-depth exploration inside my head.
Why did I fear this for so long?
Reflection without causes fear within
Any number of psychological studies and self-helpery talks about this notion. The person(s) who makes your blood boil. That annoying, know-it-all acquaintance. Those willfully stupid people. They set you off because you fear you are the same as them.
For me, one of the biggest triggers is narcissists. Before I truly got into my head, I had a great many feelings of inadequacy. There were feelings of a constant lack of worth, deserving, and expected abandonment as such. If I didn’t tell you what awesomeness I was doing you’d never know.
But this made me an occasional braggart. I spent time making you aware (often repeating myself in the process) of what awesome thing I had done. Look at me, dammit. Borderline narcissistic.
When I saw this for what it was I altered my behavior and my actions. I still slip from time to time. Yet I am wary of the things I do and say far more than I used to be.
When I see narcissists in action it makes me uncomfortable at a really deep level. The reason why is because I know that if I wasn’t mindful of myself — I could easily be a narcissist.
Since I dislike narcissism, the last thing I’d want to do is be a narcissist.
To realize this, I had to look inside myself. And I feared to discover a narcissist. Of course, when I did the discovery proved not to be something scary — but an opportunity to alter it.
Nothing inside is unchangeable
There are certain expectations people have of you. Friends, family, employers, coworkers, God, and you yourself. Everyone sees you in a different light.
How I see you is not how your parents see you. Ultimately, how you see you is unique as well.
Have you ever heard a recording of your voice and been like, whoa, is that how I sound to everyone else? It’s so different from how I hear myself. The reason is scientific — you hear yourself through the filter of your head while others on the outside hear an unfiltered sound.
Impressions of the self work precisely the same way. How you see yourself with your inner eye is not how others see you. I am not just talking about your physical self, I mean your whole being. The person and their foibles, the body and mind that make-up you.
On the one hand, you reflect your inner self to the world at large. But on the other hand, you are the reflection of yourself the world sees.
How does that work? When you look in the mirror you see your body. You can make a face and that face may be based on an emotion that is something you feel. Or maybe you are practicing your scary face — not actually feeling it but working on showing what it would be.
When you are more focused on the projection than what is within you become the projection and deny or ignore what’s within. Do this long enough and you can lose sight of yourself.
When you realize this, getting back inside your own head is scary because it has become the unknown — and we fear the unknown.
Whatever you find inside yourself is changeable.
What are you so afraid of?
Human beings are complex animals. We are capable of a degree of thought and creativity at a much different level from the rest of the animal kingdom. Rather than live in trees or caves in a specific, hospitable environment — we created artificial shelter with environmental control so we can live anywhere at all on the planet.
Yet because so much of our time and energy focuses outside of ourselves, in many ways we tend to ignore what’s within. We shunt away mindfulness of who we are, our thoughts, feelings, and the intent of our actions to contribute to the projected world and the collective consciousness.
While nobody can be happy all the time, similarly you will not be mindful all the time. Things happen that will impact you from way outside of your control. When that occurs, you are likely to cease being mindful and get caught up in an outside current.
You have the power, however, to choose to be mindful. It’s a matter of being in the now, the present, and becoming aware of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. That will go deeper and make you aware of your inner psyche. Your deeper mindset, headspace, and to all intents and purposes your soul.
If you have not been spending a lot of time in your head — and why would you, since society puts next to no emphasis on doing that — this can be scary. Who are you deep down? What might you find?
Those questions scare people. What if who you are, deep down, is a no-good unworthy unlikeable horrid person?
If you are concerned at all about that — the answer is you aren’t. If you were — you’d know and not care.
Chances are when you go inside your head and heart you will find mostly good. Of course, you have a dark side. Everyone does. You have considered shoving that person angrily out of your way, punching that asshole in the face, stealing from the unwary, and so on.
Unless you act on the malicious intent you have, you are not a bad person. Imperfect, yes. So is everyone else. But chances are, deep down, you’re worthy, likable, and pleasant.
Everyone has moments of anger, sadness, and every other negative you can think of. But those are moments and they are natural. When you journey into your head you may be uncertain what you’ll find there — but I know I found, in my head, empowerment.
When I finally stopped fearing to go into my headspace, I found my capacity to love and be loved, a depth of emotion I didn’t know was there, and the means to make the inner me and the projected me much more one-in-the-same.
I am imperfect and I know it. There are things I am still learning, ideas I’m chasing, and growth and change constantly at work. Disturbing thoughts and feelings arise sometimes — but by using mindfulness I can keep them in check and find or create necessary balance.
Don’t fear what’s inside. Unless you discover malicious intent and act upon it, the good will outweigh what you fear.
And if you find bad — you have the power to change it. You can be whomever you would choose to be.
The present situation has left many people alone with themselves — and that can be scary. But it can also be an ultimate opportunity to get to know yourself better and work to be the best version of you that you can be.
You are worthy and deserving of using mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you and I matter as do the things we find inside our heads & hearts.