Free Yourself from Fear
What Happened to the Real You?
When you discover or finally admit, as I did, that fear has been driving your decisions and interactions with others, you'll usually find that it's due to a disconnect between who you think you're supposed to be and your authentic self. The authentic self is the you that flourished unselfconsciously during those times in life when you felt happiest and most fulfilled. It is the you that existed before the "cool kids" started excluding you at school, before you were scarred by your parents' divorce, or were abandoned by your spouse or your grown kids -- before you tried and failed, or reached out and were rebuffed. Somewhere inside you, your authentic self is waiting for you to find your way back, to reconnect and get on with the business of living your life honestly and fearlessly.
You may be able to remember a day when you were living your own life agenda. You were filled with excitement about your future because you were engaged in pursuits and relationships that fulfilled you and made you feel alive. But somewhere along the way, you let it happen. For whatever reason, you allowed your own script to be traded for someone else's idea of who you should be. From that point on, the breakdown began to take place.
At first the signs were small. In the areas of your life where you were out of alignment with your true nature, you began to experience internal discomfort. For example, you resented your boss's controlling ways but were unable to confront him about it, so it became a stress you learned to live with. But your sense of betraying yourself by not being honest didn't go away -- it just morphed into a need to self-medicate with alcohol, overeating, massive denial, or other self-destructive habits that brought momentary relief.
Somehow you decided that your worth and decisions had to be validated by someone else, and you began to live in fear of being found out or judged as being "less than." Denying your deepest desires, even in the small things, began to change you, to sabotage who you were underneath it all. After a while, it got easier to ignore your own voice, to trade the courage to be yourself for the path of least resistance in your relationships, at work, even in the dreams you once had for your life. Little lies grew into life-size lies, until everything you did was about maintaining the image you created.
If you've given in to fear-dominated decision-making, you'll probably see yourself in some of the results that show up in two of the most common types of inauthentic living: "Fake It to Make It" and "What I Fear, I Create."