One of the most common questions I am asked is how long it took me to get over my fears of teaching.
It took me years before my anxieties about teaching cleared. My limiting belief structures were enormous and strong, and they took a long time to dismantle. But this dismantling has been one of the most profound experiences of my life. I used to experience my anxieties as a disability, as an obstacle. But now after over 15 years living with them my perception has changed.
Now I do not see my anxieties as something in my way, but as THE way. And instead of trying to change them I work WITH them. I get to know them, feel deep into them; ask them questions, listen to the stories that are generating them. And it is by this slow deconstruction that I learn about my engine.
You know when a piece of machinery is broken, and it’s tempting to hit it and shake it to fix it, and sometimes, by some grace, this works, but mostly it doesn't. Instead, with great patience, if you take the machine apart, screw by screw, slowly revealing the internal workings, and eventually finding the misalignments way down within, there can be a deeper, more fundamental resolution and satisfaction. Because now, not only does the machine function optimally, but there is a joy that springs from coming to know and understand something so intimately.
So now I look at myself, and others in this way. When I am experiencing anxieties that previously would have led me to run away, I run towards them. Because we need to get to know our insides curiously, lovingly, without judging ourselves for being human, and so woven with beautiful and complex insecurities.
So next time you feel the anxieties, and you hear the thoughts bubbling up, begin to listen.
Stop, get still, breathe deep and listen compassionately like you would listen to the people you love and respect most in your life. What are the voices inside saying? Write them down. What are they so afraid of? Remember that at one point all of these fears were put in place as a mechanism to protect you somehow.
Ask them “How are you trying to protect me? From what harm? And then ask, and answer honestly, do I still need this kind of protection? Or is this an outdated program?
By doing this work, you will activate logic around these potentially outdated fears which are no longer relevant to your current position in life. Then the next time they come up there will be a greater stability within you because there is more awareness about why the fears are being generated.
So instead of feeling highjacked by your sensations and emotions, you can take back some control simply because you now understand the origin of your fears. And you can be compassionate towards yourself. Instead of running, abandoning ship/yourself, you can move in closer, embracing these very delicate aspects of yourself.
The more you teach/move into the positions of discomfort in your life – in yourself, the easier it becomes to navigate of course. But by doing this work of deep curiosity, developing an intimate awareness of how your engine functions, you allow the process to accelerate much more quickly.