Written by
Changeboard Team

Published
26 Apr 2010

Does having fear mask the real-you?

26 Apr 2010 • by Changeboard Team

'Courage is knowing what not to fear' (Plato)

Fear or anxiety strikes all of us at some point in our lives usually as a result of when we are put on the line so to speak such as: having to speak in front of people, delivering a presentation or speech, looking for another job after having been made redundant or fired, losing a business deal and the implications on targets and/or the business, starting up a new division or enterprise, starting a new job, receiving a promotion, winning a new contract or client, the prospect of and doing a job interview, working with a new boss or team. Changing career direction or having to start all over again. The list of what we are afraid of or anxious about, is endless.

Ultimately we experience a fear because of what we are attaching to it; what others might think of us and hence the need in us to fulfil or deliver on their expectations (but which are really ours). So we layer thereby dulling ourselves with insecurity and thus cannot and do not show the real us so when we fail to deliver, impress or win something we get emotional such as: disappointed, frustrated, annoyed, angry, think we are inadequate, let people down, have the sense of shame, loss or rejection, are deflated or de-motivated. All this because we realise and have a deep knowingness that in that moment or situation - we actually were not being ourselves and so we get or carry an emotion because we did not get to show them the real us (very often is the case in job interviews), but rather - we gave them what we thought was required for us to be, or act, behave, speak, perform etc. We gave them a false us.

But how can we be ourselves and/or at times also be blaming of the moment, situation or another when it is us who has and continues to wear all those layers that are hiding the real us?

Holding onto fear

Holding onto fear keeps us in the stagnation we want to be free of

Holding onto our fear arising through a lack of self-confidence, self-esteem or worth, and/or the lack of trusting of ourselves to make the right decisions can stem from feeling the sense of failure, inadequacy, anger, shame etc that we have placed upon ourselves experienced from a past situation or circumstance. As such we keep ourselves held held in isolation, of non-progression, inert or stagnated.

We desperately want things to be flowing again but - like a thirsty plant gasping for respite from the lack of water we have forgotten to give ourselves pause for refreshment and therefore there can be no growth.

Keeping hold of the stagnated state we are experiencing can be like a layer of grease we think is a protective barrier and does the job of not letting anything come in yet in applying a barrier, does it really work for us? Does it allow us to feel and face up to the extent of our (real) issue or pain? ie how our previous choices have and are continuing to hurt us.

So rather than us thinking and believing it is the Situations (read below paragraph) that create/d the fear we have  - it is in fact us who create and cement it through using the barrier that stops us from seeing and feeling (our choices).

Taking off the grease to expose

Taking off the grease to expose  a question of choice & responsibility

We are afraid that if we do take off the layer of grease that protects us, we get to feel the raw and exposing nature of it and we have to face up to the fact that we have not taken full responsibility for our choices and this is too much for us to bear. When we take off the grease we are able to see the full extent of our pain or hurt that has arisen from the choices we have made. We have created our own fear and are only exacerbating it from continuing to make ill choices for which we must take responsibility.

New choices are being called for

New choices are being called for but do we take heed of this or do we just continue on the same treadmill-of-choices that is depleting us?

Keeping the layer of barrier grease that we think protects us only locks-in our notion that we have fear which in turn prevents us from stepping forwards out of our misery, hurt or pain so the more we continue to not face our choices that led to the feeling that we have no confidence, suffer a lack of self-esteem, worth, trust etc then the more we remain imprisoned exacerbating the issue, even being identified with it because we are so used to it and we make it who we are which becomes a comfortable place for us to stay and to remain .

Why do we keep, not remove or not change

Why do we keep, not remove or not change what is so comfortable?
 
Perhaps because ironically keeping the comfort, is ultimately what is causing our fear or hurt to exist and hence by keeping up our protection shield we remain comfortable, existing behind it thinking and believing that it is the easiest, hassle-free and safest place or solution for us to be in. To lose this comfort would make things too uncomfortable.

In other words we keep up and do not want to remove our layer of comfort because of the fear we have in what we may lose if we do so. So we settle; compromise or comply. Hence we maintain the status-quo to avoid upsetting any apple-carts whether that be in the office, with our colleagues, friends or at home with our families.

When we are asked to remove our protection shields and face the battle that is before us, we feel unarmed and exposed because we must then begin to look at and deal with if we so choose all the issues which we have kept hidden until this point.

Holding onto our protection shields only keeps us protected falsely.

Are you still hanging on to the Situations?

The key here is to let go of the comfortable and controlled existence we are keeping going and feel the extent of our choices that led us to the prison that we created and that which we are so desperate to escape from.

In light of this, we can see there are two choices either we bravely remove the protection shield that is falsely protecting us (keeping the comfort) and look at ourselves in all our bareness, OR we can continue to hold onto it in a braced layered position fuelling the battle of war that rages inside us and that which is exacerbating our pain, issue or fear that has arisen.

Situations and emotions such as - disappointment or regret in having made a wrong move in our career; regret in having missed a job opportunity; bitterness in being overlooked for promotion; agitation in remaining in the same career or industry; the fear of the threat of being made redundant or resentment of being fired; the shame of taking a lower paid or qualified job; the belief we are too old; or too young to do or get the job or get another job; not having the right or enough qualifications; the guilt of family obligation to follow a specific career path; the feeling of inadequacy and envy or jealousy in what and where our colleague, friend, sibling is in their career and life (keeping up with the Joneses); through to experiencing bullying or conflict in the workplace.

Self-war VS self-regard? - your choice

We can see here that it is our (chosen) thoughts, beliefs, ideals and values that are keeping the war fuelled inside us creating Situations which provide necessary excuses for us to remain where we are in our lives, jobs and careers behind the false barrier shield of protection, keeping the comfort and hanging onto our fear.

It is only through facing up to what led to our hurt that we discover the real issue concerning of our lack of self-confidence, esteem or trust that created the fear.

Only through seriously looking at and becoming aware of how our thoughts, beliefs, ideals and values can (and do) restrict and limit us, can we then begin to make fresh new choices that are self-regarding. Such honouring-of-self choices help us to release and clear the casualty of our self-created war and through honesty we are able to move forwards towards a place of self-harmony and that which no longer imprisons us. Towards the real (true)-us.