Next time you go in the sun, take notice of your shadow; how big or small it is, how long or short it is, how distorted it is from your actual body. And yet, if you weren’t standing there, it wouldn’t exist at all. Because, you are in fact the sole creator of your own shadow. No one else can make a shadow of you, and the light is the only other thing that contributes to the shape. And that shape changes every second the sun moves.
Now apply all of this to your metaphoric shadow. It is a distorted version of you that changes depending on the light and angle. And, when we step out of the light, it can even seem like our shadows have consumed us. But, like a physical shadow, we are the sole creator of our metaphoric shadow. And it wouldn’t exist at all if the light wasn’t shining on us. It’s all about our perception and expectation. Is our shadow a dark part of us that we want to avoid, or an internal image being cast by the light for us to see and learn from? It’s all about how you decide to view it. This is true for our fears too.
Our fears are just our shadows after all. So depending on the time of day, when we decide to take a look at our fears, they can feel so much bigger than us. They can feel all consuming. But again, our shadows wouldn’t even exist without us. They aren’t bigger than us, because they are us. Nothing more, and nothing less. They are simply a part of us, a projection of us. How can a two dimensional cast of ourselves, ever be bigger than our three dimensional self? Let alone our five dimensional self (but that’s a topic for another day).
It comes down to making yourself bigger by simply REALIZING that you are bigger than your fears. We tend to make ourselves small to fit into situations and circumstances, to accommodate our fears. We can spend our whole lives making ourselves small to better fit in. But that doesn’t mean that we are small. That fear of failure comes from feeling like that failure is bigger than us. But is it? Will our existence end because we fail? That fear of vulnerability, is it bigger than us? Will we turn to dust if we open up to someone? That fear of getting hurt? Is it bigger? The answer is no. It actually holds no bearing on our lives, unless we let it. Those fears are simply a part of us, that the light is showing us for a reason. It’s saying, “Hey look at this part of yourself, you should get to know it.”
So don’t look down at your shadow as something to fear, or as something to fight. Look at your shadow lovingly, as a child crying, in need of nurturing. That child (the fear) is showing you what you truly need from yourself. If you have a fear of failure, it’s most likely because there’s a leap you need to take that has a risk of failure. Fear of vulnerability is likely showing you that being vulnerable will unlock great changes in your life. If you take charge of your life, you’ll start to realize that none of your fears are bigger than you. They’re parts of you that need some understanding and guidance.
And the reality is, most of us never really learned how to provide that understanding and guidance to ourselves, so instead we just fear anything that seems difficult or different or unknown and bad. And thus, the towering, all consuming fear takes hold. But what if we actually started giving ourself some guidance?
Let’s start with making ourselves bigger. We can start to induce this feeling when we take deep breaths into our chest and really pay attention to the expansion. From there we can feel that expansion push outward beyond our bodies by pushing our energy outward on the exhale of our breath.
The next aspect is to actually learn what we never did; to take control of our own lives with some internal guidance. We can do this through thought interrupters. When fears come up, interrupt them so that we have enough time to understand and give ourselves guidance. Thought interrupts are statements like, “Is this fear bigger than me,” “What’s the worst thing that can happen,” and “I am safe in this moment.” By interrupting the fear, we give ourselves the space to step back and view it objectively.
From the place of objectivity we can realize that we are safe, and that we’ll survive whatever the worst may be. It also allows us to put our own greatness into perspective. We are bigger than our fears and our thoughts and emotions, because we are the creators of our fears and thoughts and emotions. And what is more powerful than the power of creation? And this may be our greatest fear of all; the fear of our own power. As Uncle Ben once said, “With great power comes great responsibility,” and it’s that responsibility that is truly terrifying. If we realize that our fears are smaller than us, then we also have to realize that the only thing holding us back from going after everything we want in life is, well, ourselves. And that can be a hard pill to swallow. To say to ourselves, “I am the reason I’m not exactly where I want to be in life.” That is painful, but the most powerful thing we can ever do. Because if it is us that’s stopping us, it’s also us that can move out of our own way.
So let’s get bigger than our fears, start realizing that the worst is never actually that bad, and start going after the dreams we’ve been holding ourselves back from.