“Fear of what others think”–Living a Divided Life.
“The Fear of what others think”… Is this a theme in your life? It sure is in mine. I even consider myself to be a person who has a fairly healthy self-image. I have a wonderful family, a husband who loves me, kids, that I am proud of. I also really love my job…. and yet, if I am honest, I realize that so many of my actions and decisions are subconsciously motivated by what I think will make me look better in other people’s eyes. Just look at what I post on Facebook or Instagram. I don’t show pictures of my failures or difficulties. You won’t find pictures of my flopped meals or me sitting at a desk worrying about how to pay the bills, or the last argument I had with my 18-year-old… Why? Honestly, because it would really shed a different light on the whole “real me” and what would others think of that!? We can actually feel like we are living a divided life within our families, our churches and close circles of friends when we are afraid to show our real selves for fear that they might reject or not like who they think we have been all these years. If that is the case. Watch out!
If we are not able to be the same person on the outside, then who we are on the inside can have dangerous consequences. Parker Palmer, an author I respect, mentions a few of these consequences in his book A Hidden Wholeness.
· We can lose touch with our souls and disappear into our roles…
· We can sense that something is missing in our lives and search the world for it, not understanding that what is missing is us.
· Our inauthenticity and projections make real relationships impossible, leading to loneliness.
· Our contributions to the world–especially through the work we do–are tainted by duplicity…
If we don’t watch out for this, our lives can be lived as a lifelong lie, unable to bring our inner and outer selves together. I find that at this stage of my life, in which I am experiencing a lot of transition, it is an opportunity to re-start or re-confirm my identity, who I really am and who I really want to be.
Let’s be true to ourselves without fear of what others think and in harmony with our inner and outer selves.