I’m taking a course right now which is requiring me to do something I usually avoid like the plague.
No, it’s not dairy or gluten, or high fructose corn syrup. 😂
It’s reading the comments section!
I’m being prompted every day to read and interact with other students in the comments.
At first, I flat-out dismissed the idea, and with good reason.
I’m not into keeping tabs on what other people have to say when I’m taking a course. I’m trying to learn, not find out what Sara from Idaho thinks about what we’re learning.
I don’t want other people’s opinions in the mix while I’m taking in information from the experts. Right now I’m learning from a world-renowned psychologist and meditation teacher, and I don’t want anyone or anything getting in the way of me absorbing every last ounce of what she has to share.
But I’d be remiss if I didn’t address the fact that the comment section scares the shit out of me.
I’ve had a small yet effective-at-freaking-me-out sampling of shitty comments over the years.
Misogyny from both men and women? Check! Ego driven passive aggressive grossness? Check! People who don’t even realize they’re being assholes? Check!
Mix mucho passive aggressive responses with a bevy of volatile life experiences, and you’re going to get the blinks whenever you’re perusing the wall of potential ignorance that is the comment section.
So those are some legit reasons why I feel compelled to avoid the comments. It can be volatile territory, a gathering place for ignorance and aggression.
I feel this duty to myself in the name of self-compassion to not entertain that kind of stuff. I don’t want to give it my energy any more than I’ve already given it in this lifetime.
But this course is really poking at me and pushing me to dig into that discomfort. I mean, it’s a course about facing your fears. If ever there was a time to face them, it’s now, right? 😂
Yet still, I began the program wanting to avoid the comments in the course.
Except its part of the program to look at them and contribute to them, so I HAD to stop avoiding them. AHHHHHHH!!!!
An initial “hard pass” on perusing what other people have to say has recently turned into engaging a bit, which has turned into me possibly changing my mind about reading comments altogether.
The catalyst for my shift? The responses my classmates offered to the question, What are your fears?
The answer everyone gave, in both direct and indirect ways, was the Fear of not being good enough.
In this case, comment sections can help us realize that our fear experience is not an anomaly.
They can help us realize that fear is not solely our own experience, it’s a shared experience.
When we are free of the belief that our fear is an anomaly, we are unburdened by a great degree of heaviness.
Case in point, consider the degree of fear you’re carrying when you believe the lie that you are alone in feeling afraid.
To believe you’re alone in your experience, you’d need to believe that you’ve got a serious abnormality – an inherent deficit going on. So you’d end up with the initial fear, plus the fear that you’re alone, and then the fear that you’re intrinsically flawed.
That’s a lot of heaviness to carry with you, right? No wonder you’re tired and anxious all the time!
After reading the comment section in my course it’s clear to me that a lot of our fears can easily be proven wrong.
My mind wanders to imagining the degree of transformation that would come if we all dug into working towards becoming conscious of the fact that EVERYONE is afraid of not being good enough.
In this case, reading the comments can help us disentangle from the lies we tell ourselves about our fear experience.
It’s not “Our” fear, but “The” fear – A fear felt by the collective.
If we become deeply aware of this truth, we won’t feel the need to be so harsh to ourselves and others when we felt afraid.
We could let go of some of the judgment we carry. Wouldn’t that be amazing? 😍
Becoming deeply aware takes work, of course.
Meditation is required. Our brains are wired to focus on judgement first and foremost.
It takes a commitment to keep coming back to noticing fear through meditation in order to change the default setting within us.
But it is absolutely possible to experience a great amount of peace through this work. I am proof of that!
Some days will be smoother sailing than others. If you’re not sleeping well, or have the flu, or someone’s behaviour is triggering fear within you, it can be hard to stay the course, and tough to remember how to be kind to yourself.
But there’s an instantaneous self-compassion catalyst I’m sharing with you today which you can reference whenever you’re feeling lost in fear:
The memory of all those comments, posted by people from all different backgrounds and ages, courageously admitting to their deepest and darkest fear: That 9 times out of 10, they are afraid of not being good enough, too.
You are not an anomaly, you are part of the collective. Therefore, you are not alone.
Also: You are loved. It’s non-negotiable.