If you speak what's burning in your heart, it's possible not everyone will like you. But being liked--for being nice, easygoing, or sweet--is really a limited pleasure. A much deeper pleasure lies waiting for you, as you embrace the fullness of your own imagination:
The speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realized you had. And you will lose some friends and lovers, and realize you don't miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you. And you will still flirt and paint your nails, dress up and party, because, as I think Emma Goldman said, "If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution." And at last you'll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.
Fear Antidote #3: Fall in love with your own vision
Another tap-root of fear that has trembled in me has been the one about being liked, the one about needing the approval of others to feel whole. The only way I've known to heal that fear has been to embrace--without reserve or apology--my own pleasure. The pleasure of which I speak is that thrilling spark of ecstasy that runs through me when I see or feel further or more deeply than I've ever seen or felt before. Into life. Into love. Into my own magical wilderness. A new world emerges, more vibrant and wondrous than the one I knew before. When you begin to gaze into your own eyes this way, to see this new world of promise and love within, the fear about approval can quickly become obsolete.
And then you fall in love with your own pleasure...
When a fear about the approval of others arises, ask yourself: through whose eyes am I looking? Four years ago, I stopped shaving my armpits, for the first time since I was a young girl. I just felt like it. I was teaching several yoga classes a week at the time, and I felt this prickling fear grow in along with the hair: will it distract or offend someone? Maybe I shouldn't wear sleeveless shirts to teach. But growing in me too, was another energy, the type of self-love and inner vision that also bares sharp teeth. When these fears arose in me, this voice said, "Fuck that." The fear didn't leave right away. It arose and arose, but love kept arising along with it. The love that says "Fuck that" to what threatens its pleasure or its peace. Slowly, I began to see through the eyes of this love rather than through the eyes of potential critics. Through the eyes of this love, this hair I was growing was a way of reclaiming my wholeness, my unshorn desire, my inherent beauty. It was also a way of saying "Fuck that" to fear. I've found fear really needs this treatment sometimes. It's not a blasé way of living, but a wise and practical one. Most of all though, by accessing this more aggressively protective side of self-love as a vital component of our inner vision, we can compound the pleasure of living and creating. May reveling in the pleasure of your inner vision make you strong. And make you dance.