My friends, we spend far too much time in the zone of fear. I’m not talking about pandemic fear. There’s a whole layer of fear that we cling to in everyday life, and that’s fear of taking action.
Now, we can certainly apply this to current events, but the truth is that we’ve been doing it all along. Holding ourselves back, playing small, staying quiet, doing our best not to rock the boat…all because we are caught up in our mind drama around what people will think of us!
For many, it has become such a part of our subconscious, we don’t even have a clear awareness of how our decisions are impacted on a daily basis. This shows up in the way that we show up. If we even do.
What if I’m judged for saying or posting my true thoughts? Judged for expressing myself?
Right. What if?
Or a better question I like to ask is so what? What are you making it mean about you if you are simply authentic?
Sometimes we don’t even realize we are living a people-pleasing reality because it’s become so expected. We select our outfits and hairstyles, weigh our words carefully so as not to offend anyone, and replay every scene at the end of the day wondering whether or not we’ve fucked up somewhere along the way.
Let’s look at weighing our words so as not to offend anyone. Seriously. How can we possibly know what would offend someone? That’s all wrapped up in their values, beliefs, and thoughts. How presumptuous could we be that we know what words will land gently and which ones will land with a heavy thud?
What so many humans don’t realize is that words and sentences don’t mean anything until we have thoughts about them. They are all neutral. Just words. Sticks and stones and the like.
But somewhere along our evolutionary path, we’ve collectively assumed responsibility for everyone else’s feelings. Something we have absolutely no control over. We don’t know what other people think or will think.
Yes, we try very hard to anticipate that ahead of time and align our approach accordingly. This is how we’ve been conditioned. We’ve learned over time how to navigate various relationships by shape shifting into different versions of ourselves, so much so that we don’t even know who we are anymore.
We think that if we can just “get it right the first time” and receive adoration and praise that we are good humans. We have come to derive our self-worth from the positive reactions of others! Talk about giving your power away.
That’s a no-win situation. Every time.
Yet that’s exactly what keeps us afraid. We’re afraid to say or do the wrong thing and so we dim our light as much as possible to conform.
It’s ridiculous behavior and I’m over it. I’ve decided there is no upside to me constantly worrying myself with posturing and politicking for approval.
I had a client tell me recently that she wished there was a way she could see who has unfriended her on social media since she’s become more outspoken about her own values and beliefs around human rights. I asked her why. She couldn’t answer.
Really. So what? What’s the upside of knowing who doesn’t want to “follow” or “like” you anymore? They simply aren’t your people. Would you rather they fake it and pretend that they are?
That’s the thing about social media that makes it so addictive. It’s one big game around the ego. How many “likes” did I get? How many heart reactions? How do I replicate that tomorrow to get more love? Am I popular? Am I pretty? Do they love me? Do they hate me?
It’s all one big game. Everyone else is trying to “win” it too. Everyone else is trying to get that ego boost.
Some people choose controversy to get that hit. That rush. Love me or hate me, everything in between is just a waste of space, right?
The constant concern over what other people will think or what they do think is maddening and there’s no upside to spinning around in fear over this.
Because ultimately, it’s not what they think, what they say, or what they do that matters. That’s not even what we’re afraid of.
What we are really afraid of is how we’ll feel about it. Only the “bad” feelings, mind you. We don’t want to feel those, because we make it mean something bad about ourselves.
If we get a reaction that looks like adoration, that means we are worthy. We can make that deposit into our emotional bank account. If we get a reaction that looks like disapproval (or we lose a “friendship”), that’s an automatic overdraft from our emotional bank account.
We are giving away our power to others!
That makes no sense, because the only thoughts we can control are our own.
I have taken a long and winding road to the realization that the most crucial relationship that you will ever have in life is the one you have with yourself. Most of us put no time whatsoever toward nurturing that relationship because we think that is what is self-serving, ego-driven, and maybe even narcissistic.
I’m here to tell you that it’s the exact opposite. A narcissist thrives on the attention and adoration of others. If anything, you may be closer to that than to finding your own power and your own light through developing a healthy relationship with your authentic self if you have been avoiding it all of this time.
I suspect that you may have, only because I know that I have. For most of my life, I didn’t want to search within because I was afraid of what I might find.
That’s the kind of fear that keeps you stuck in that game that no one ever wins.
I’ve found that there’s a very cool person inside. One who always agrees with me (ha!), one who is willing to make decisions and stand by them. One who has her own back. One who might even be willing to dance like no one’s watching.
I am learning to love that girl. I want to be her best friend. Ditch the fear and try this instead.
“Who was I before I became who the world told me to be?” – Glennon Doyle
My latest podcast episode was around this topic and you can listen here.
I am happy to coach on any topic, including navigating current events. I’m absolutely here for you! Book a free session with me here.