Fear of being seen
While some people enjoy the centre of the stage, gain energy from other people’s attention, with the spotlight shined upon, being an introvert, I have not been typically comfortable with that. I framed it as the rosy story of ‘I enjoy my privacy’, but actually, you can also say that as ‘I’m fearful of what people might say’.
Just a moment ago, when Andy and I are to invite our Facebook friends to like our Facebook business page, I felt the moment of fear and reluctance. My heart beat went skyrocketed, it felt like when you are in a Safari, taking a picture of a lion and at that very moment, the lion turned his head and stared right back at you - I needed to deep breath to calm yourself down.
My mind went to work and in seconds, it came up with many reasons (excuses) why I shouldn’t hit the button to let all my 500+ Facebook friends know about my venture. What if the people I invited don’t like the page, will it become spam to their inbox? Then the question became, am I ready to be introduced as an entrepreneur? What if I fail?
Human mind is hard-wired for protection, as a result of the evolution. Regardless whether the risks are real or imagined, it’s good enough for the biochemical inside us to shoot out instructions to avoid taking that step forward.
When I googled fear of being seen, I realised I’m not alone. Here is a great article written by Miroslav Petrovic “overcome the fear of being seen”. He quoted a big lesson he learnt from Bhagavad Gita:
“You have a right to perform your prescribed duties, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your actions. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, nor be attached to inaction.” – Krishna, Bhagavad Gita 2.47
I'm not Hindu, but the thought of putting focus on our actions, regardless of the outcome of the actions (as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone), made sense to me and has brought great level of relief and courage to keep me going, instead of procrastinating because of fear. The great thing is once you take your first step, the rest of the steps just follow.
Luckily, I’ve got a wonderful partner Andy, who gave me the courage I needed at that particular moment, to give me a gentle push and make me follow my heart and soul, to do what is right.
In the end, I did click the button to send Facebook invites to all my friends. Regardless how much support I get from my Facebook community, the action of ‘pressing the button’ already brought a sense of pride to me. What can be more beautiful than action despite of fear?
There is a wise book called ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ by Susan Jeffers, perhaps, doing what you are afraid of is precisely the cure for your fear.
Lastly, I’d like to share one of my favourite poem “Our deepest fear” 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's 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're liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
I invite you to do the same, when the next opportunity comes along, step up to fear, let yourself be seen and give yourself a chance to shine. It doesn’t matter how small the action is, be it as small as clicking a button, saying ‘no’, you are practicing courage and by that small action, you set yourself free.