What do you do with the paralysing impression that you just don’t have what it takes to tackle the issue and there’ll be trouble?
Without a way forward, inside sensitive skin, the fear is that you may… freak out.
Let’s look for gentle guidance for this tricky, bruised place.
It exists in EVERYONE, of course, but people explore it so little that it’s like an area on old maps marked only with ‘here be dragons’.
Can we tame them?
The thing about monsters
If you’ve had the dragon of “inadequacy”* raging in you when trying to work, you know it is both foul and scary.
I mean, who wants to be the one who’s not “looking good” in the world where clients or colleagues reference only two ways of being: “fine” or “f***d up”?
Who wants to feel slimy and ashamed inside and dread that someone might bump into you in that state?
I noticed that I don’t exactly rush to be seen when I’m disconnected from the most basic compassion or faith in myself. No, at those times I’m expecting others to be as monstrous as I’m being on myself.
Can you relate?
The thing about monsters is that they are intimidating and off-putting as a way of… guarding a treasure.
There’s richness right within and underneath the daunting feeling.
Exactly the opposite of what the dread in you is saying!
Taming inner monster: lesson 1
”How many of you know that just because you feel something, that’s not the way it is?”, said Joyce Meyers, speaking to people on confidence.
For me, this question summarises the first step to taming ANY monster of a feeling or situation you may be facing.
You may be feeling helpless, depressed and paralised as you consider the facts.
A bit like Harry Potter must have felt when he encountered Fluffy, the three headed dog monster at his school.
Harry’s intimidation is understandable. The thing was large, vicious, three headed. It would make anyone feel inadequate.
But, let’s remember that reality is not what we feel it is when we are intimidated.
Harry’s monster had a “weakness”. When you played him a beautiful tune, Fluffy the monster went to sleep. The way to the treasure, the Philosopher’s Stone, stood open.
Lesson 2: nonviolent solutions
Of course the more you’re “in it”, the harder it is to even believe you’ll ever be okay again, let alone know what to do next.
The monster of (fill in your scary feeling) is so intimidating, you dread being stuck with it forever.
Everything in you and the prevailing cultural conditioning says: “kill it!”
Or, for the less explosive among us: “run from the beast!”
You fight, flee or freeze your feelings… instead of getting the treasure within them.
The treasure protected by the monster of a “negative” feeling is the beauty of what you and others are truly needing in the situation.
And this beauty gets lost when all available attention goes to defending against “monsters”.
Defending seems THE thing to prioritise.
Such is the strength of the “good guys and villains” schooling.
Wars are always on and St George is a hero because he killed a dragon.
Meanwhile, quietly and conscientiously, gentle folk who cannot thrive around killing (or judging), are looking for nonviolent ways of resolving painful feelings and problems.
And we are finding them.
There is a beautiful painting I love, called “In the absence of St George” which illustrates the essence of nonviolent solutions.
A red-haired woman in the painting is communicating gently with the dragon.
She doesn’t need to be saved from the monster because she doesn’t see it as such. Instead, she’s listening to what it is feeling and needing. See the painting here.
So how do you not freak out?
To summarise, there is a way to not freak out in the face of strong feelings or thoughts of inadequacy.
It involves realising that all is not as you feel and that “monster feelings” especially are much better news than you’d guess.
When you give more, not less, attention to what exactly you are feeling, you’ll discover that emotions are safer felt than dreaded.
If you happen upon a monster feeling, try this way of finding a way back to yourself through it.
1. Notice you’re “defending against a beast”
Take a moment right now to consider what it looks like when you’re intimidated by a feeling.
What do you do to fight it or run from it into activity?
Let yourself see an honest picture of the defensive habit you’ve acquired.
Can you allow compassion for the part of you that learned to respond to yourself in this tragic way?
e.g. I surf the internet even if very very tired. It seems safer than feeling my feelings. Sadness on realising that… and now more ease.
2. Play a beautiful tune to the inner “monster”
Undiluted contact with poisonous vapors is petrifying and not recommended in life or fairytales.
What magical tune can you play to stop the hypnotic intimidation of a scary feeling and the harsh thoughts it is likely linked to?
A beautiful question is a “tune” that can help you move towards a “monster”. Such as this one:
What is the kindest, most generous meaning I can give to this feeling?
e.g. I guess I’m feeling wretched because I love life and I want to do what I can to live it well…
Now, is your answer easier to feel into than the “monster” feeling that was guarding it?
I hope so. Here’s to ending the war inside and in the world.