Behind the Mask: The Fear of Standing Out

It is my personal belief that we are here to experience ourselves authentically in all of our conventional and unconventional ways. For me, I find it a challenge to want to stand out (too far). I can stick my neck out some. Yet at some point, it becomes uncomfortable for me to go against the grain of society and to follow my “own drum” 100% of the time.

When I imagine myself being 100% authentic in all aspects of my life, I immediately begin to feel fear. After a few minutes of sitting in the muck, I can sort through it and begin to feel different elements within the blob. Among them are the all too familiar feelings of: Abandonment; Rejection; Isolation; Death; Being labeled a weirdo (well, I already have that, so what does a little bit more matter in the whole scheme of things, really?). In being familiar with Marianne Williamson, I know some of this fear is of my own brilliance.

These fears, I know, are holding me back. They make up the obstacles of my journey. It is here that I sit in meditation to uncover the truth behind the blockages.

Be still and know that I Am. Psalm 46:10

In being still, sitting in the silence of this cold darkness with all of these fears, I begin to see the pieces coming together. They all are related and lead to the same fear-destination: death. First within the cell of abandonment, I see how being from a tribal society and being ostracized could mean imminent death.

Digging deeper I find the icy tendrils of rejection that say, “If I am truly myself, would others really like me?” This path circles back to abandonment, being ostracized, potentially ending in death. Isolation seems another reiteration of rejection and abandonment, again, the fear is of death. Being labeled a weirdo, in this atlas of fear, again leads to isolation, rejection, abandonment, being ostracized and, you guessed it, death.

The fear of death keeps us from living, not from dying…
– Paul C. Roud

So it seems that I fear being myself because I fear death. Well, my next question is how is not being myself 100% truly living? How is my living in a way that makes others feel comfortable really living?

It is here that I can begin to place my fear of death into perspective. At a young age, I learned to be a “people pleaser.” By keeping the adults happy, I felt in my child-mind I would be happier and they would not isolate me. So this fear of being abandoned, rejected, isolated and being labeled a weirdo sprouted at a young age where I developed my external self around the belief that being my true self meant I would not survive.

Next, there is the fear of being brilliant, which bounces off my inner child and the ping back reverberates, “that just sounds too conceited.” To my observer, this just sounds like another fear of rejection…

Here is one of my favorite quotes by Marianne Williamson:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
― Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

May we all be free of the fears that block us from shining authentically.

Namaste.

2 thoughts on “Behind the Mask: The Fear of Standing Out

Add yours

  1. I enjoyed reading your posting, thanks for sharing it. Sometimes I think to myself how that the Human seems to be the only animal that fears being what it is meant to be. You never see an eagle, tiger, wolf, monkey etc… afraid to be what it was meant to be. These animals just focus on being what they are meant to be, and that is what makes them beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

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