One day I was asked to give a short speech in front of almost 1000 people. I couldn’t sleep at night from the stress that this idea of me being on stage was giving me. I was completely paralysed and 2 centimetres away from cancelling it, from running away. I was convinced I wasn’t good on stage. I would repeat to myself how bad a speaker I was and so on. But some little voice inside me was telling me that I had to do it. Not for the speech, but for overcoming the fear that had become unbearable. When I was walking towards the stage that day I remember I couldn’t breathe, my heart was beating fast, I was all dizzy. And when I finally stood in front of all those people something unexpected happened. All my fear was gone. I was more afraid of the idea of being afraid than from what was actually going to happen.  that moment hundreds of images passed through my head. Images of me being a little girl who loved performing, singing, dancing, reciting poetry for so many years in different competitions. What happened to that little, confident girl I was back then? In that moment I reconnected to her. I did great. That moment of my life was crucial to me. Not because I have overcome my fear but because I realised that something I believed about myself was simply not true. How many other false beliefs did I have? Did I really know who I was? I wasn’t so sure anymore.

Now, more than ever, we try to escape who we are and especially what we feel. There is nothing more uncomfortable than a resistance to feeling whatever is there to be felt. This feeling of resistance is almost more uncomfortable than what we are trying to escape from in the first place. The desire to be somewhere else and to feel something else pushes us to look for other states of mind. Grasping those other states of mind is nothing more than a way to experience freedom from ourselves for a moment.

Spirituality, in many cases, has become used as a way to avoid feeling or thinking, rather than a way to find what is really going on deep down in our hearts. It has become a desperation for ‘otherness’. We are looking for something different from the present moment. But, when we are looking for happiness, for instance, we are actually focusing on the absence of that happiness so we end up feeling ‘down’. We started to look for otherness in ourselves that has created an absence of acceptance for who we are and for what we feel. Not only would we create that “better”, in our mind's eye of who we should be and what we should feel, that would make us escape who we are, but also we would punish ourselves constantly for not living up to that vision.

I have been mastering for the last 10 years how to create an image. Brand Identity. And I also have been mastering how to create my own image. Crafting how people should perceive me or how I thought they should perceive me. I believed that my image was who I was. I started to believe in that image so much that I would use every single opportunity to confirm to myself that the image was real. When I would not fit in that image though I would punish myself for it. 

We are the perfect creators of our own reality. We cast people around us for the roles we wish them to play and we also cast ourselves, constantly, for an image which we have created, the image that would give us an illusion of control of who we think we are. An image that we would like to prove we have on every step of our way. An image that would imprison us eventually and limit the access to our true self.

The worst thing is that after many years we start to believe in that image. We are afraid to think of who we might be. We much rather prefer to put ourselves in some sort of frame of adjectives and stay loyal to our opinion and family heritage, using it also as an excuse for our unwillingness to change. “This is who I am”  we say, “Accept it”.
But, do you really accept who you are? Do you accept when you feel sadness and disappointment or when you are not ‘good’ enough? Or do you try to escape that feeling as soon as you can and change yourself? You will then punish yourself even more for not being who you think you should be, and not doing what you think you should do.

If you will not accept yourself for who you really are, how can other people ever accept you? We are our own worst enemies. When we fall, we punish ourselves for falling. When we win, we think we don't deserve it. When people hurt us, we convince ourselves that it is our fault.

How liberating it would be to say: I am sad today and I love myself with this sadness. I didn’t achieve my goal and I love myself anyway.

We are so terrified of letting ourselves be free that we will judge every little action we take or behaviour we perform. We will judge our feelings and our thoughts.

You can be so kind to your friends and so unkind to yourself. And so can I. Would you ever said to your friend: Stop being sad! What is wrong with you? You suck! I don’t think so… you would say: Hey, I love you. Everything will be alright. I promise. You are amazing.

Don't ever set any conditions about when and how you love yourself. You are your biggest gift and your best friend. You are your everything. Start to open to who you might be and who you might become without rejecting who you are now. Start treating yourself as you would like to be treated by your best friend. Without trying to escape what you feel. Without willing constantly to be somewhere else. Start to question all the false beliefs you have created around you through all those years and keep only those that truly make you happy. Be free and love yourself. Stop comparing yourself to others. Everyone is unique and extraordinary. In order to discover who you really are, you need to accept that you might not really know who you are in the first place. You can’t think who you are and feel who you are at the same time.

Find comfort in the mystery. Stay open to possibilities without planning what you should feel, think or have. Alan Watts said: “The future in which You already know the outcome, has already happened.” Don’t try to predict the future and who you should be.

Give yourself the freedom to experience who you truly are. Give yourself permission to feel it.

The day that I decided to remove my mask, was the day I promised myself to never cheat on myself anymore. To be with me for the good and for the bad. To love myself unconditionally no matter how many people loved me or didn't. Maybe I will never be anything more than I am now but that is perfectly fine. I don't need to be more as I am everything already. This was my wish for me, and is my wish to you.

How you can ruin or save your relationships.

I consider myself to be an expert in Conscious Relating, on the basis that I have made every possible mistake in my relationships, and devised all manner of sabotaging programs to escape from them!

There are various self-sabotaging programs we can use in order to protect ourselves, to avoid rejection or to be really honest with ourselves.

Paradoxically, after employing any of these patterns we usually end up hurt, rejected or deceiving of ourselves. We forget very quickly that it is we that have created that reality for ourselves or we never admit it to ourselves in the first place. We end up blaming the other person and positioning ourselves as a victim of the situation we have ultimately created.

The bigger the commitment, the greater the potential to end up in a flight or panic response, creating various stories and scenarios in our mind, that hold us back from fully stepping in and opening up to receiving love.

The more powerful the love that we feel, the greater the fear of losing it. It is this fear which activates the “rescue programs” (read sabotage) that are supposed to protect us from our potential suffering.

If we are afraid of rejection, we do the rejecting. If we are afraid of someone hurting us, we attack. If we are afraid of someone being dishonest, we have started to lie to ourselves.

All those mechanisms are designed to protect us. When we protect ourselves, we build walls around us. We hide inside, we withdraw, we shut down. We pull back behind a protective shield. We not only lock ourselves in, but also we lock in our problems, blockages, diseases, disallowing them to leave our body and to set us free. Michael A. Singer in his book “The Untethered Soul” describes how this action closes our energy centres. We become unreceptive and insensitive. But we want to defend the concepts, not our body. We lock our illnesses inside ourselves and it can only worsen. If we constantly protect ourselves, we can never be free, we will never grow and we can never fully receive.

The only way to heal is to stay open, at all cost. Every program is activated by association with a bad memory from the past. For instance, our partner had a bad day and is very cold with us. We start to associate it with our past relationship where coldness was a signal for a lack of love. We start to panic, we take it personally and make it all about us. Our mind creates a story: He doesn’t love me anymore, it is going to be over, again I am going to suffer. The story activates fear. And fear activates a sabotaging program. I am afraid of rejection so I will reject first. We are only ever afraid of those things that we are capable of doing ourselves. When we become cold to the person who was distant with us because of a bad day at work, we create even more distance.

Another person who does not have any bad attachments or memories of coldness and a lack of affection would simply leave a space for the partner and focus on something else. That person would be confident enough to not take it personally and he/she would wait until it passes. Each of us has different memories and different triggers that activate different fears. There are also different sabotaging programs. And the only way to liberate ourselves from them is to become aware of them, and to take a conscious decision to let go. We can only choose to let go when the program is activated. The more it stays active, the harder it is to let go. With a bit of practice, it gets easier and easier to recognise the stories our mind creates from a place of fear. It is important to prevent these patterns and programs from polluting our relationships.

If we are closed, we are unable to receive. We are unable to receive what other people want to give us but also we can’t receive our own love. If we close, we not only block the connection with the person who activated our program, but with anyone else. In our relationships with other people we start to crave depth, connection and openness. By not opening we constantly hurt and reject ourselves.

What are some of the different types of self-sabotaging programs? Let me tell you about those I have experienced myself and believe me, my creativity doesn’t only shine through my work, it also shines in all my subconscious creations. My mind was very creative with all the techniques I would use to not let people in and to not fully open up.

The first program I have experienced is “to run away”, a flight response. Whenever I am triggered by a situation that connects me to unexpressed, or unreleased energies from the past that might activate a fear of rejection I go to a flight response. Unconsciously I believe that if I reject first I won’t be rejected. I become the very source of rejection not only of the other person but of myself. Our deepest desire is to love and be loved, but paralysed by fear we don’t allow ourselves to either give it or receive it. We run away before love gets too strong. Have you ever experienced being triggered by someone and thinking about jumping on the first plane or train to leave the situation? Well this is exactly how this program works. And the only way to free ourselves from it, is to realise we are in a program and to consciously decide to let go of it.

The fear of rejection was my biggest fear in relationship. This fear didn't only activate the program “to run away” but also other programs that are designed to convince someone to push us away, so we can reaffirm our self-sabotaging beliefs.

Another strategy I have discovered is a program in which I am “looking for problems”. I have looked for small things in a relationship to make big problems out of them. We start to criticise and blame our partners for our unhappiness, frustration, or irritation. We start to communicate that he/she is not making us happy. If there is any frustration, irritation of unhappiness inside of us, it can be only about ourselves. We start to complain more and more, focusing on everything that bothers us. We look for constant conflicts. We do it because we feel insecure and we look for confirmation and reassurance that the other loves us. We are unable though to be honest with ourselves about it so we try to convince ourselves that the relationship is not working. Sure enough, if this is what we believe, then guess what experience this will create for us..

If that technique hasn’t ‘worked’ with our partner we might try “the attack technique”. It is a more violent version of the one above. We literally try to pick a fight. We do it to shake our partner, to feel his emotions, to see if he stills care about us. We try to fight to provoke a reaction. We want someone to fight for us. We are so insecure in our own skin that we will do anything to draw out someone’s feelings. Sadly, it only brings us more separation. Every single time, we feel guilty for initiating the drama.

If our partner is unreactive to these techniques above we might try “numbing”. We start to feel less and less, we desensitise ourselves. We start to doubt our love, and through the numbness we start to lose the physical attraction we once had, we become insensitive. All of that is to dampen our ability to feel too much. To ‘protect ourselves from being hurt’. We close ourselves and start to build walls around ourselves to not let the other person in. We block giving and receiving. When our observes and communicates that we are off, we are ready to ignore it and remain in denial. We literally can’t feel our own closure. We start to believe that the relationship might be over as we don’t feel anything anymore. But it is only a way to escape. Sooner or later when we open up again, those feeling will all come out and we will realise all the lies we were telling to ourselves. Sometimes it might be too late. We and only we are the reasons for our own pain. We always have a choice.

Another self-sabotaging program is the narrative of “it is too good to be true”. We are so attached to what has happened to us in the past that we struggle to believe that our future can be different. Our main mantra in this program is : “Here we go again”. We believe we don’t deserve happiness, we are not worthy or not lovable. Our beliefs are a self-fulfilling prophecy. We create the reality we are so afraid of. No matter how wonderful our partner is, and how much he says he loves us. We won’t believe it. We close ourselves in our dark, pessimistic vision of our future that we are creating from a place of fear.

I realised that I didn’t even know what it means to be open. What does it feel like to be open? Maybe I was simply afraid of the unknown rather than being rejected. I was afraid of how much I could really feel. Maybe this whole time I was stopping myself from receiving the biggest gift from life. Love.

I realise we all are love and if we are not in our natural state. We suffer.

Love is.

Fear is trying to escape, rejecting, harming or denying. Love holds someone in your arms when they try to run away. Love is reassurance in the face of doubts. Love is to be the truth to the self-deception. Love is stand in certainty while the other pushes away. Love is to see through the criticism and the blame for the lies that they are. Love it to realise that anything else is fear. Love is the opening of our heart and the heart of the other.

I have committed to opening my heart and to letting go of all those programs. I am committed both to my partner, and I am committed to Love. I committed to liberating myself from all that was closing me from fully experiencing this world.

Are you open to receiving love?

What are the sabotaging programs that you are aware of? Please share.

Are you ready to let go of them, once and for all?

Fear of rejection

I used to be afraid of rejection. 

Very early on I stopped letting people in. I was always prepared for them to leave my life tomorrow. I never fully opened up and showed myself. There was a part of me that I would never reveal. A secret I was hiding. A great secret of who I was. 

Holding that secret created a deep and strong desire to be seen. A desire to be found and uncovered by someone. To come out of my cave and to shine in the light of the moon.

If our greatest desire is to be seen for all of who we are, it can only mean that we are hiding part of ourselves. 
The biggest paradox of all is that if we fear rejection, we are actually rejecting ourselves by NOT showing authentically who we truly are. 
So actually we will never be rejected for who we are, but rather for who we are NOT! 

I used to think that if people reject me for who I am not, it will cause me less pain. The opposite is actually true. Not showing who we are, for many people, is a safer place where rejection is not related to our true identity. We often create new identities or wear masks to hide behind.

I asked myself one day: What is more uncomfortable, hiding or being afraid of rejection?

I realised that my greatest pain didn’t come from rejection itself, but from being rejected for who I was NOT.

There is nothing more beautiful than being with someone who shows their authenticity and their vulnerability. A man revealing to a woman how stressed, worried or insecure he may be in her presence. A woman sharing with a man how nervous she is before their first date. How many relationships have been missed out on, or have parted company, because we were NOT who we are, unable to communicate and express our vulnerabilities, our fears and our truth. How many friendships were sacrificed because we were too afraid to speak with each other honestly? 

If we show up as who we truly are and people reject us, at least they reject us for our truth in the moment, and we retain our integrity to ourselves and the other.

How many relationships have you lost, not because of showing who you truly are, but because of NOT showing it? 

You will save so much time by being unapologetically YOU. Now and in every moment. Communicate what you think and feel. Be truthful to others but most importantly to yourself. Express yourself fully, with all the uniqueness that you are. You might think that it is going to separate you, but the truth is, that it will re-unite you with yourself. And when you are re-united with yourself, only then can you truly re-unite with another. When I started to show who I am, my fear of rejection dissolved. I understood that it was not the rejection of others I was most afraid of, but rejection of myself. 
Only true self-love and acceptance will set you free from the fear of other’s people judgement. 

Everything we see in the other person is a reflection of ourselves. Michel Odoul in his book Dis-moi où tu as mal, je te dirai pourquoi (“What Your Aches and Pains Are Telling You”) writes that if we like a particular feature in someone, it is probably our own trait we, for some reason, are not able to notice or express. On the other hand, if there is something that irritates us in another person, it is probably our flaw we cannot stand. We do not want to notice, recognize or accept it. So, whenever we spot it in others, we experience negative emotions for it presents the picture of ourselves we are not able to acknowledge. The only part of ourselves we cannot see is our face. It represents our identity. The only way to see one’s face is in the mirror. In life, the other person is such a mirror. How we perceive that person and what we see in him/her depends on our attitude to ourselves. Every person is perceived differently by different people and may evoke various emotions and feelings. There are as many opinions on us as many people we know, for they will see different aspects of themselves in us. We can only see our own face in the faces of others. Like Carl Gustav Jung said: We can see a thousand different images in other people. He also beautifully asked: And what if the poorest beggars and the cheekiest criminals hide in me. It is me who needs the alms of my own kindness. I am the enemy who must be loved, what then?

Are you afraid of rejection? If yes, ask yourself: Are you showing who you truly are?

During my Tedx talk for the first time I shared my personal story, never shared publicly before, where I spoke about what our own rejection can cost us.

You can watch it here