Why am I afraid of other people?
If you are afraid of yourself, only then are you afraid of other people. If you love yourself, you love others. If you hate yourself, you hate others. Because in relationship with others, it is only you mirrored. The other is nothing but a mirror.
So whatsoever happens in relationship, always know it must have happened before, within you – because the relationship can only magnify. It cannot create; it can only show and manifest.
If you love yourself, you love others. If you are afraid of yourself, you are afraid of others. Because, in coming in contact with others you will start manifesting your being.
You have been conditioned – in the East, in the West, everywhere. Christian, Hindu, Mohammedan, Jain – you all have been conditioned to hate yourself. It has been taught to you continuously that to love oneself is bad. ‘Love others. Hate yourself.’
This is asking for absurdities, impossibilities. If you don’t love yourself, who is nearest to yourself, how can you love anybody else? Nobody loves himself – yet he is trying to love others. Then your love is nothing but hatred – masked, hidden.
I tell you to love yourself first, because if love happens within you, only then it can spread to others. It is just like throwing a stone into a silent lake. The stone falls, ripples arise, and then they go on moving, moving to the farthest bank. They will go on and on and on, but the stone must have fallen within you first.
Love must have happened to you. You must love yourself; that is a basic requirement – which is missing all over the world. That’s why the world is in such a misery. Everybody trying to love but it is impossible to love because the basis is not there – the foundation lacking. Love yourself. And then suddenly you will find yourself reflected everywhere.
You are a human being and all other human beings are just like you. Just forms differ, names differ, but the reality is the same. Go on moving farther and farther – then animals are also like you. The form differs a little more. But the being? Then the trees are also like you. Go farther and farther; the ripples spread – then even rocks, because they also exist like you. Existence is the same, similar.
This is the only way to love God: start by loving yourself and let the love spread. Then don’t let there be any boundaries. Go on and on – to the very infinity. This is what prayer is, this is what devotion is.
But if you miss the first point, if the stone has not been thrown, and then you go on waiting and watching, and the ripples never arise….
It cannot start anywhere else; It can only start in your heart. Because love is a ripple in the heart, a vibration in the heart, a throbbing, a sharing of whatsoever you are, a deep, intense urge to go and reach the other, to share your being and your delight and your song.
But your heart is almost dead-frozen, and you have been taught to condemn yourself – that you are ugly, that you are bad, that this is sin. ‘Don’t do this. You are guilty.’ You cannot accept yourself. How can you accept anybody else? A deep acceptance is needed. Whatsoever and whosoever you are, a deep acceptance is needed. Not only acceptance – but a delight that ‘I am.’ ‘I’, ‘Here’, ‘Now’ – all the three points, the triangle of being, should be filled with delight. You should not ask anything else. There should not be any ‘ought’. Drop all ‘shoulds’ and the whole world becomes different. Right now, you continuously think: ‘I should be this and that. Then I can love and be loved.’ Your God is nothing but the greatest condemnor looking at you from the skies, saying: ‘Behave well.’ This gives you a bad feeling about yourself.
By and by, you become afraid because you are suppressing yourself. If you relate with somebody, the suppression may break, everything may bubble up, surface. Then what? So you are afraid, afraid to come in contact with anything – so you remain hidden within yourself.
Nobody knows how ugly you are. Nobody knows how angry you are. Nobody knows how full with hatred you are. Nobody knows your jealousy, possessiveness, envy. Nobody knows. You create an armour around yourself, you live within yourself. You never make any contact – so that you can manage your image. If you come deep in contact, the image is bound to break. The reality, the real encounter will shatter it – that is the fear.
You ask: Why am I afraid of other people?
You are afraid because you are afraid of yourself. Drop that fear, drop the guilt that has been created in you.
Your politicians, priests, parents, they all are guilt-creators, because that is the only way that you can be controlled and manipulated. A very simple, but very cunning trick to manipulate you. They have condemned you, because if you are accepted, not condemned – loved, appreciated, and if it is relayed to you from everywhere that you are okay – then it will be difficult to control you. How to control a person who is absolutely okay? The very problem doesn’t arise.
So they go on saying – the priests, the politicians, the parents – that you are not okay. Once they create the feeling that you are not okay, now they become the dictators; now they have to dictate the discipline. ‘Now this is the way you should behave….’ First they create the feeling that you are wrong; then they give you guidelines of how to be right.
Here you are with me, involved in a totally different experiment. I have no condemnation, I don’t create any guilt feeling in you. I don’t say: ‘This is sin.’ I don’t say that I will love you only when you fulfill certain conditions. I love you as you are, because that’s the only way a person can be loved. And I accept you as you are, because I know that is the only way you can be. That’s how the whole has willed you to be. That is what the whole has destined it to be.
Relax, and accept, and delight – and there is transformation. It comes not by efforts; it comes by accepting yourself with such deep love and ecstasy, that there is no condition, conscious, unconscious, known, unknown.
Unconditional acceptance – and suddenly you see you are not afraid of people. Rather, you enjoy people. People are beautiful. They are all incarnations of God. Maybe Rin Tin Tin… but still… incarnations of God. You love them. And if you love them, you bring their God to the surface.
Whenever you love a person his godliness comes to the top. It happens – because when somebody loves you, how can you show your ugliness? Simply, your beautiful face comes up. And, by and by, the ugly face disappears.
Love is alchemical. If you love yourself the ugly part of you disappears, is absorbed, is transformed. The energy is released from that form. Everything carries energy. Your anger has much energy involved in it, your fear also has much energy, crippled and suffocated in it. If the fear disappears, the form falls down, energy is released. Anger disappears – more energy is released. Jealousy disappears – still more energy.
Whatsoever are called sins simply disappear. I don’t say that you have to change them; you have to love your being and they change. Change is a by-product, a consequence. So much tremendous energy released – you start floating higher and higher and higher, you attain to wings.
Love yourself. That should be the foundational commandment. Love yourself. All else will follow, but this is the foundation.
Osho, The True Sage, Ch 4, Q 3