There isn’t much that tires you out as much as wrestling an invisible bear all day.
That’s just the way the bear in the closet likes it, of course. As long as you are in there wrestling with him, you don’t have any energy to get out in the world and turn your thoughts into action.
It’s the bear’s job to eat your confidence. That’s the primary way that he protects you. Yum, Yum.
One big secret of success is that confidence begets confidence. If you do what you need to succeed in one area — making the risks, taking the knocks, having the persistence that it takes to achieve the mastery that creates confidence & looseness — you become more confident that you can succeed in other areas.
Once you know how to succeed in one area, you know the template needed to succeed in other areas.
If you try to take shortcuts to success, though, the world will be happy to show you where your old lessons haven’t quite got you to the knowledge. Success always requires being open to learning, always demands more hard work, even if you have done it before. Every success can get you more clarity and awareness, though, so you can begin to see the patterns in new problems, a great benefit we get from a world where separation and struggle are always with us.
It is only by manifesting our power, by taking action in the world, experiencing the results of our choices, learning from them and then trying again that we can become confident and powerful.
The bear in the closet, though, has problems with that cycle. By reminding you of what has gone wrong in the past, of what could go wrong in the future, well, he is sure he is just doing his part to keep you safe. As long as he keeps you wrestling with him, well, you can’t be out there in the big world where anything can happen, including good things that might take you away from your old, cuddly bear pal, the one who keeps you safe.
One reason your bear is so sure that he is doing the best thing for you is that your bear talks to other bears. His ears perk right up whenever he hears another bear speak, someone else’s bear sharing all the fears they have picked up over the years. Bear knows that other people’s bears are really scary.
As women, we share with each other. One of the times we need sharing most is when we have spent too much time wrestling the bear and are feeling stressed, down. Very often, though, instead of getting tips on how to tame the bear, how to claim beyond fear, we end up getting our bear fed.
“Oh, yes,” other women say, “there are lots of scary things in the world. Let me the tell you a story about a friend of my friend Maureen, who had the most awful thing happen to her. You have to watch out for things like that!” That’s pure emotional food to the bear in the closet, bear baiting as a parlour game.
What bonds us as women, we are often told, is our experience of facing oppression, abuse and fear in the world. We are told that our challenge is facing the bears in the world, and we assume that means men, often described as “bears with furniture,” when the real bear that keeps us small and scared is the bear inside our own closet.
Other women aren’t wrong when they warn us that there are bears in the world, big scary bears which can do us dirt. When they miss the point that it is the bears in the closet that are the most damaging, demanding we lash out at others who touch what we fear then pulling us back into the darkness to appease our own bear with offerings of food, drugs and other behaviours that will keep us small, scared and wrestling the bear in our own closet.
The bear who tells us that unless we are perfect we are nothing, tells us that if we know our own weaknesses and flaws they will overpower all our strengths when people see us, tells us that our identity lies in our fear and letting go of that will disconnect us from the bears of other people we love, well, that bear is what we wrestle with all day.
Is it any wonder we don’t have the energy and wherewithal to become new in the world when we spend so much of our life feeding the bear in the closet?
How do you feel worthy and strong enough to break away from a bear who has been your companion all your life?
It’s easy to know how to make the bear happy, how to get him to tell you that you are safe and protected in the dark cave with him.
Making yourself happy, though, well, that’s a much tougher challenge.