The balance between fear and ego is quite an interesting one. Fear often is the largest force that limits us. Ego says do more to prove yourself, even if it isn’t right for you. What lives in between these two and how do we find it?
Courage can be the middle ground that helps us live more authentically. It takes courage to see your fears and not let them hold you back. To see your fears and do it anyways. It takes courage and willingness to be vulnerable as we actively walk through fear. Sometimes it’s the courage to soften, to open up, to be honest and authentic. Other times, we need to be empowered and fierce to move through fear.
I love the asana practice for this reason. Our asana practice puts us into familiar shapes and poses and also pushes us up against our limits. We have all heard that little voice in our heads telling us that we “aren’t good enough to go farther.” “Who are you to try that variation?” Self-doubt and fear keep us limited and small. They hold us back from growing and finding new experiences which can lead to healthier patterns moving forward. Sometimes that means trying something new that challenges us. Sometimes it is the courage to slow down and go within in a slower or more meditative way.
Ego on the other hand, pushes you to “do more, be better” and doesn’t care if it is right for you in the moment or not. When you see the teacher or another student in class doing a fabulous option, ego says, “I have to do that too or I’m not good enough.” Well, that’s a bunch of hooey. Every body is unique and different. Some bodies are well conditioned to “do more” in their asana practice, while others are building their capacity. We all have strengths and weaknesses. There is no reason for ego to compare itself with anyone else.
Therefore, it takes courage to not listen to the ego or the fear. To know yourself well enough to step forward when fear is holding you back and to pause when ego is pushing you forward.
Taking a leap of faith into courage can feel so empowering and freeing. It builds trust in who you are, your capacity to be strong, and to feel whole from a very deep level. Breathe deep, take courage and be the best version of you possible.