Day 61

Exploring My Biggest Fear: What I’ve Learned So Far

Last time, I addressed the fact that my biggest fear is having a lower IQ than someone in my position should have. I have no idea what my IQ is but considering I was put in remedial math when I was in elementary school and my teachers did not have much faith in my academic abilities, I assume I didn’t have a very high IQ. I am terrible at taking standardized tests, and I’ve never been good at math or science. These observations have led me to believe that I am not very smart. So as a result I feel inadequate and inferior to my fellow instructors.

The key here is my feelings of inadequacy. I think at its core this is a reflection of my consistently low self-esteem. Although I have come a long way, this little hiccup is an indication that I have much more work to do. There are still parts of me that do not feel valued, and I need to delve into the shadows once more to rescue them and remind them that I am not that shy little girl counting on her fingers and relying on touch math to do the simplest equations. I am a grown woman who has accomplished a lot and has a lot to offer the world, and has done a lot to contribute to English education in Japan. Moreover, my worth is not determined by how smart I am or what I have accomplished or what I have done. I have value because I’m L’Shawn and that’s enough. I do not need to prove my worth.

Sitting with this fear and allowing myself to feel the sadness and frustration that comes with the core belief that I am stupid and therefore unworthy of love or respect has taught me another thing about myself. I don’t like being uncomfortable. I noticed today that I go to great lengths to reduce my emotional discomfort, and it was with some effort that I let myself be uncomfortable. Throughout the day, I found myself seeking emotional comfort from colleagues, only to realize that I was escaping feelings that I judge to be bad and therefore unacceptable for me to express or feel. The more I denied myself the chance to unburden myself  to my colleagues, the sadder and more isolate and desperate I felt. However, I knew that I needed to allow myself to get through the emotional pain without getting quick fix from those around me. I could not abandoned myself, so I let myself get through the pain, and eventually, I began to feel better, and I was happy that I allowed myself to let the emotion play out.

Having discovered that I have a hard time feeling sad or lonely, I am going to redouble my efforts to continue shadow work and to learn to accept these less desirable emotions. To fully accept myself, I must be present no matter how I am feeling. Emotions are neither good nor bad they just are, and I have got to learn to let them be. I have heard that mindfulness is a great way to learn this very valuable skill, and I will meditate for at least fifteen minutes a day.

I am grateful for my fear of being stupid because it has given me the opportunity to learn more about myself and to reintegrate the parts of myself that I abandoned in my childhood or adolescence. As I learn more about myself through my emotions, I also learn about the ideas to which I am attached that may not be helpful. Attaching my self-worth to my IQ is neither helpful nor necessary. I can still live my dream despite my level of intelligence, and I am learning to be okay with that.

Until next time, I wish you all the very best.

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