Our Deepest Fear About Ourself Is Our Deepest Treasure

_Our deepest fears are like dragons guarding our deepest treasures._ Rainer Maria Rilke

 How can a fear that eats us alive, also be a great treasure?  Marianne Williamson has the best answer I have ever heard to this question.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.  We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?  Actually, who are you not to be?  You are a child of God.  You’re playing small does not serve the world.  There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.  We are all meant to shine, as children do.  We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.  It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.  And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.  As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

  – Marianne Williamson 

As children we freely express ourselves.  Our emotions flow through us, one minute we are crying like the world has ended, and the next minute we are smiling and serenely happy with the smallest thing that has grabbed our attention.  As we grow older we somehow come under this trance of fearing to be different than everyone else.  We feel like we are not good enough, unworthy in some way and we start striving to earn a place at the table. 

The human longings that are deep inside of us never go away.  They exist across cultures; they exist throughout life . . . , our deepest longing was to know and be known . . . , it’s now also our deepest fear.

  –  John Ortberg

The great thing is that at any moment we can begin to awaken to the truth of who we are.  We can stop pushing our true selves into the dark corner.  Instead we can be setting fire to every thought and feeling, burning it up with dragon fire.  We can set it free to soar high into the night sky to light up the darkness inside of us.  We can free ourselves of thinking that we are not good enough. not pretty enough, not talented enough, or not smart enough.  Instead of fearing the bright lights that we are, we can illuminate the night sky, and help those around us realize that they too can set themselves free.

Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage.  Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.

  – Rainer Maria Rilke

It takes a lot of courage to risk being alive without self imposed limits.  To express who we are.  When I think back to my biggest fears in life, I can see where those fears at times both served to protect me, and at others times caused tremendous harm in my life.  The real trick is to discern when the fear is protecting us, and when it is limiting us.  Every fear in our life has the potential to become a shadow. A shadow is in every folded up place.  It is in those folded up places, that we are not living our life as who we truly are.

I want to unfold.  I don’t want to stay folded anywhere, because where I am folded, there I am a lie.

  – Rainer Maria Rilke

As we have journeyed down life’s paths, we have all experienced someone putting us down for something we said or did.  I remember being ashamed of being an “A” student.  All of my friends were making fun of me, saying I thought I was too good to be hanging out with them.  I remember getting “B’s” on purpose, so that I could fit in better with my friends. 

In every heart there is an inner room, where we can hold our greatest treasures and our deepest pain.

  – Marianne Williamson

So for a lot of years as an adult, I would give my ideas at work to someone else, so they could get the credit for it, because I was afraid to be judged as thinking that I was smarter than my fellow employees.  This created what is termed a shadow – it was created by my pretending to be someone different than I really was.  I thought I was protecting myself.  In reality I was hurting myself, because it held me back from being recognized as a valued employee.

Fear is an idea-crippling, experience-crushing, success-stalling inhibitor inflicted only by yourself.

  – Stephanie Melish

We all have these gifts or talents that we bury.  Our light scares us.  So rather than risk being seen, being noticed, letting everyone know how powerful we are – we hide in just existing.  The moment that you stop being afraid of being different in some way from everyone else is when you experience true freedom.  We don’t realize what a weight that we carry around, hiding from who we really are, until you release it and let it go. 

Draw a map.  Find a path.  Take a breath, and run.

  – Unknown

For years I would grow my hair really long, and then I would go get it cut shoulder length and donate it to Locks of Love to make wigs for children with cancer.  I always remember how light my head would feel, when I got my long hair cut.  It always surprised me how much weight it felt like on my head, but how when I would hold the braid it was so light. 

As our fears grown within us, it is like that long hair.  We don’t notice the weight we are carrying around.  Because it grew slowly, the fear slowly weighted us down.  When we release the fear, like the long hair getting cut, we become lighter.  The way to release the fear is with love. 

The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.  Fear of the unknown is our greatest fear.  Many of us would enter a tiger’s lair before we would enter a dark cave.  While caution is a useful instinct, we lose many opportunities and much of the adventure of life if we fail to support the curious explorer within us.

  –  Joseph Campbell

When we are consciously living a life of love for ourselves and others, then we shine our lights brightly because we realize it is our purpose to help others shine their bright lights.  The meaning of life is not expressed by the size of our bank accounts, the title we achieve at a job; the fame and fortune that we seek out.  The meaning of life lies within us living our lives from that place of love.  Letting our lights shine out so that we can share the true treasure of who we are. 

Who am I, you ask?

I am made from all the people I’ve encountered and all the things I have experienced.

Inside, I hold the laughter of my friends, the arguments with my parents, the chattering of your children, and the warmth from kind strangers.

Inside, there are stitching’s from cracked hearts, bitter words from heated arguments, music that gets me through, and emotions I cannot convey.

I am made from all these people and moments.

That is who I am.

  – Ming D Liu

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Sheryl Silbaugh

I am married with 4 grown children who are all married and currently have 14 grandchildren and two great granddaughters. I work fulltime as a Director at Bank of America and I am the founder of LemonadeMakers.org, which is a website and Facebook page dedicated to personal transformation and growth. We all have life's lemons show up in our life, this website helps us to make them into lemonade.