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Words can’t even begin to describe what’s been happening in my body and mind lately. These last two weeks have been so intense and powerful – insights from the deepest parts of my mind are floating to the surface and rooting in my heart. Like the missing puzzle pieces that are finally falling into place.

My meditations are getting deeper and deeper, more powerful for every day I practice. Feelings and emotions I didn’t even know I had are surfacing and integrating into my life. Feelings of peace, gratefulness, humbleness, serenity, creativity, and love. These words are in no way new to me, but as I’m experiencing them now they have a more profound meaning than ever before. My flow of creativity is coming from the heart, from a feeling of deeper purpose. It’s a calm and ensuring feeling driven by internal rather than external forces. My feelings of gratitude are no longer centered around materialism, but rather the abundance of beauty and love that’s surrounding me. Aren’t I lucky to be a part of this wondrous universe that keeps giving and giving despite our blindness to its miracles?

At last, I’m realizing my place in this interconnected puzzle. The deep feelings of loneliness and separation are gone. I’m surrendering to the vast intelligence of this universe and it’s the most comforting feeling I’ve ever experienced. I’m letting go of the limiting beliefs that have been stopping me from living my life fully. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s definitely been worth it.

The realization that changed everything

When I first came to Bali I had a long list of things that I intended to work on, both mentally and physically; fear of being rejected, a feeling of inadequacy, unworthiness, bad self-confidence, and – to be honest – zero self-love. To deal with these, I started by creating a list of how I could confront these fears and emotions. To get rid of my fear of rejection I was going to put myself through rejection after rejection until I learned that it’s not the end of the world. After some googling, I had a long list of things I could do to get rejected on a daily basis and finally overcome this fear or at least learn to cope with it. To confront my feelings of unworthiness I did like they often tell you to in self-help books: tell yourself that you are worthy and beautiful. Tell it to yourself in the mirror. When you wake up. When you’re in doubt. Push your boundaries, put yourself in situations that make you uncomfortable. I was determined and sure that this was the way to go about and that, if I just fought hard enough, I would find what I was looking for. But oh, was I wrong.

It didn’t matter how many times I got rejected, because the unpleasant feeling of rejection never goes away. Yes, I learned how to deal better with it, but it seemed like an unnecessarily hard way to go about the problem. Like punishing myself even further would be the solution to my problems? I started questioning the method. Wasn’t my intention to love and stop being so hard on myself? Did I really have to put myself through those painful feelings in order to stop doubting myself? So I sat down and meditated, and thought, and meditated some more, and somewhere along the way, I had an insight.

Those deep feelings of fear and unworthiness are a part of me. They’ve been a part of me for as long as I can remember, yet all I’ve ever done was to fight them and put myself through things that would only make them scream louder and fight back even harder. I realized that I had never actually sat down and confronted the feelings. We’re taught that confrontation and communication is the best way to solve conflicts and arguments, but no one ever told me that I could use the same method for my internal conflicts. So I decided to confront the negative feelings and emotions once and for all.

The exercise

I sat down for a meditation with the intention of feeling all the feelings that scared me, no matter how hard it was and no matter what reactions they would bring up. One word and one fear at a time, I just allowed myself to feel whatever feelings emerged as I imagined rejection, self-doubt, and unworthiness. At first, I didn’t really feel anything at all, I’ve always found it hard to visualize things in my mind, so I tried to think of situations when I had been rejected and how that had made me feel. And soon, my whole body started to tingle and my chest felt heavy. I felt a deep sadness and pain, but also worry and restlessness. I decided to really dig into and intensify these feelings and after a while, I burst into tears. I allowed myself to cry.

When I felt like the worst part was over, it was time for confrontation. I tried to create some space around Fear of Rejection, visualizing the feeling like a floating ball in front of me. It had a brown color for some reason. I told Fear of Rejection: “I see you. I feel you. I’m sorry that I have never listened to you and that I have fought so hard against you. I have never asked you what you want or need. How are you and what do you need?”. To be honest, this felt really stupid. Having a conversation with a floating brown ball of emotions, who am I even? But I decided to put those thoughts aside and focus on my task. All I could hear was silence. I guess I somehow imagined that the answer would come floating by, loud and clear, and solve all my worries, but I had to look a bit deeper. The answer wasn’t clear, and I could easily have missed it if I didn’t listen closely because what came up was just a thought. At first, I didn’t know how much attention I should pay to it, after all, it was just a normal thought. But I decided to listen, and the answer wasn’t what I had expected. Turns out that all Fear of Rejection wanted was some playfulness and to find my long lost inner child.

After thinking about it for a while, it all made sense. Over the last years, I’ve noticed that I’ve become so serious, never truly allowing my goofiness to come out, scared of what people might think of me. This seriousness is, of course, extremely connected to the fear of rejection – it sucks to get rejected, but it sucks even more if you take yourself too seriously. This realization was mind-blowing in so many ways. Instead of constantly fighting Fear of Rejection and putting myself through painful exercises, I could work on enhancing something else within me that would naturally make Fear of Rejection go away, or at least shrink a bit.

So how do I add this playfulness to my life? Well, it’s perhaps not so much about doing childish things (although they play an important role), but rather to get more comfortable in me. I’ve decided to just act on my silly impulses instead of stopping them for the fear of looking stupid. When I dance, I dance like no one is watching. Just imagine a kid on a dance floor. They don’t care about how they move their body or following the rhythm, they just do whatever feels great. I try to watch the world from a child’s perspective, observing people’s behaviors and not putting too much thought into it. They just are. What they do or how they act doesn’t have anything to do with me. I just am. And you know what? This feeling is SO refreshing. I often find myself walking around with a big goofy smile because I feel like I have a secret. I really don’t know how to explain it, because it’s just a feeling I have in my body. This playfulness is rooting deep in my heart. I’ve slowly started to let go of my Fear of Rejection and I’ve found that it’s helped me push my boundaries and step out of my comfort zone more easily because I’m not so scared about what other people think anymore.

I did the same with the rest of my fears and had similar realizations. By being more kind to myself, and by seeing and loving every part of myself – even the negative and painful emotions – I’ve finally found a way to deal with my insecurities.

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