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The Fear of Being Visible

Are you afraid to show your true self to others? You're not alone.

Image Courtesy of Pixabay

During a coaching session with one of my clients, she has admitted that her greatest fear is to be visible. Although she is an amazing businesswoman, this fear so familiar to many of us keeps her not to take her business to the next level. 

This is something which is not so easy to admit. The fear of being seen and exposing yourself to the whole world (or at least it feels like that). But I’ve come to understand that it’s much more common than we think.

How does fear of being visible influence us?

You don’t need to be a superstar to have a fear of being visible. Life invites us to step up on a daily basis. Maybe you have to present your key findings at the team meeting at work but before you start speaking your throat dries up, and your mind is foggy.

Or you’re hiding your true dreams from your family who can sometimes be very harsh, and they want you to be more “realistic.” Maybe you’re dating someone you like a lot, but you’re afraid to show them your true self because; what if they wouldn’t like it? Perhaps you’re scared to show your beauty, and you dress in a way that covers up your merits.

The fear of being visible can be very invisible. It might seem like not a big deal but can you consciously say that it doesn’t influence your life? 

Almost invisible, it changes the way you act and talk. You want to say what you think, but before you open your mouth, you stop. Or you’d like to take your business or career to the next level, but you unconsciously sabotage it by not showing up fully. 

You may disregard these small nuances as unimportant. But imagine how your life would change if you’d be willing to be seen. Would you make different decisions? Would you talk and act with more confidence? Would you feel better about yourself?

One little act of not showing up fully adds up to another, and in the course of time, it leads you to a different trajectory.

I have a small confession. When I published my first book in 2015, I didn’t tell anyone. None of my friends knew and a big part of my family neither. The reason was that it’s my memoir and I share very intimately my fears, patterns, and challenges which I had in my childhood, as well as, the most challenging time of my life so far when I transformed every single area of my life completely. 

It felt like being naked in public. And if you’ve ever had that kind of nightmare, you know that it’s not the best feeling in the world. It took me a long time before I let people know about “Find Yourself – Go Distance to Discover Your Meaning.” 

It also took me a year to put any photo of me to my website. I thought that no one would be interested in how I look like until my readers and attendees of my workshops started asking me why I don’t have there any photo. Honestly, before that, I didn’t think that it was important.

So, I want to tell you that it’s okay to be afraid to be seen. But I also want you to realize that when we don’t allow ourselves be ourselves in front of others, we stay in our own way. I think that it’s obvious from sharing my fear when I was publishing my first book. It’s the same for any of you. Even if it’s something seemingly unimportant. Imagine what it does over the course of few years!

Why are we afraid to be seen?

For each of you, the reasons can be a little bit different. However, I’d like to give you a bit more insight and guidance so you can face this fear too. As with any other fear, you must recognize why it has power over you. 

Other words, you have to discover the cause of your fear to be seen. There is always some reason. For anything. We aren’t afraid to do (or not to do) something just so. At some unconscious level, the fear makes sense. 

What I’ve noticed during my coaching practice is that we’re afraid to be visible when it means danger for us. The danger doesn’t have to be physical and mostly is not. When we fully expose ourselves to the world, there is someone or something that is perceived as a threat. 

What is quite common is when someone had mocked you when you were yourself in the past. Someone was gossiping about you behind your back or was envious of you. What also can be the cause, when you’ve had someone close who hasn’t allow you to shine. It could have been on of the parents, best friend, or a sibling.

Maybe you had to allow strict home rules or your older sibling took all the attention. In some cases, especially if you’re a woman, some other close female in your life was jealous of your beauty and was unconsciously controlling you, so you don’t overshine her. 

The question you can use for yourself to discover one of the root causes is:  What is the scariest thing that would happen if I allowed myself to be fully visible?

This question will help you to recognize what or who is it that you could “threaten” you when you allow yourself to shine. The answer may surprise you because we aren’t afraid of the whole world. It’s usually few people or situations, and from there you can work on them and transcend your fear into fuel. 

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