Five years ago, I received one of the most unanticipated and surprising news ever. A couple whom I had admired very much and who had seemed so very much in love with one another, suddenly separated on account of years of continuous verbal, physical and emotional abuse. And the event that finally led to their divorce almost cost the lady her life. Her family had to step in and said “enough was enough.”
I was shocked when I received that news because, they felt like the perfect couple on social media and whenever you encountered them personally. The revelations that became public following their split, were things no one would have expected, given the way they portrayed their “fake love” to the unsuspecting public. For several months following their split, I pondered very much on why the woman had to put up a façade in public, while giving everyone the impression that all was well and good with them, when the reality was actually far from it. That experience gave me a deeper meaning of humans. We are all hiding something, and sometimes may pretend that we do not know that we are.
Sometimes, our insecurities get in the way of our personal, professional and emotional developments, and because of societal perceptions or imagery, we would rather bear our pains in silence, rather than seek for help. We are all carrying around with us some form of baggage which may be getting in the way of our personal, professional or emotional developments. However, because we want society to continue to assume the best of us, we hide under the crust; presenting a false front that everything is okay, when in fact the opposite is the case. My question to you reading this now is, “what are you hiding?”
“What are you hiding beneath the smiles?” “What are you hiding beneath the makeup?” “What are you hiding beneath the gorgeous clothes or magnificent mansions?” “What are you hiding in your heart?” “And what are you hiding beneath those eyes?”
The truth is that, you are the only person that can seriously answer these questions truthfully for yourself. I used to lack confidence in my abilities, which affected my public speaking skills and interactions with others, especially in the professional environment. But you know what? I never wanted others to know about it, and so never took the initiative to address the issue. I pretended for as long as possible that everything was fine, when in reality, I dreaded situations that put me in the spot light. Having to deal with that every day put undue pressure on me, until I finally did the right thing. I acknowledged my weakness, and sought ways to improve upon myself. And today, the rest is history.
So, again I ask you. “What are you hiding?” “Are you hiding behind an abusive relationship?” “Are you hiding behind a demeaning Boss?” “Are you hiding behind your own insecurities?”
Here, I share 5 common fears we often hide behind which may get in the way of our personal, professional or emotional growth, and also recommend ways to overcome them, in order to achieve our goals.
5 Common Fears We Hide Behind
- Fear of self. This is akin to a lack of self-confidence. It has to do with the “I can’t” or “I am not good enough” mentality. The fear of what we can or can’t do, often puts people in the same spot, and lets them remain there. So many people hide beneath this fear, and as a result, never motivate themselves, or allow others motivate them to achieve their goals. To address this fear, you must start by totally changing your mentality/mind-set, because according to Theodore Roosevelt, “Believe you can and you are half way there.” Nothing is impossible, irrespective of how tall that mountain seems. But you need to be able to acknowledge this for yourself first. That is the first and necessary step to axe that mountain down.
- Fear of Perfection. This is another subtle fear that people hide behind. After you have managed to overcome the fear of self, and come out from behind it, the next impediment is addressing that “getting it completely right” mentality. You must understand that perfection should not be the goal, but effort and consistency. As long as you are consistent in your efforts, the desired results would come. So, quit waiting for perfection, because although it may never come, it could also make you spend time you could have put to better use, fretting over nothing. Vince Lombardi says, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we may catch excellence.”
- Fear of Failure. “What if doesn’t work out?” “What if all my efforts are wasted?” “What if I fail while doing this?” These are all questions that we may find ourselves asking, and end up hiding behind them. We wouldn’t even bother to try, if success is not guaranteed. Is anything even guaranteed in this world? Even life itself is no guarantee. Les Brown says, “Too many of us are not living our dreams, because we are living our fears.” In case you didn’t know, failure does have its own value. It comes with lessons learned that can be applied to increase the likelihood of success at the next try. So rather than hide beneath the curtain of the fear of failure, I would recommend you take a leap of faith, and advance towards your dreams.
- Fear of Rejection. I bet this has something to do with the couple I described at the beginning of this piece. We fear being rejected by people we have somehow subjected ourselves to being held captive by. Why would you fear people or someone who only demeans you, and makes you feel less than yourself? Why would you allow yourself to get to that vulnerable spot? No one has the right to make you feel that way, because they shouldn’t have that much control over you, if you didn’t allow them. Eleanor Roosevelt also says, “Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Rather than hiding beneath this fear, just walk away. Walk away from that pain and burden that comes with harboring this emotion. Get some fresh air back into your life, and watch your life become better and more productive.
- Fear of what People would say. Yes, many people remain in abusive relationships because of the fear of what others may say. They hide beneath this fear, and try to live their lives as a façade, portraying to the world that everything is alright, when in fact the opposite holds true, until God forbid, something bad happens. Why would you care about other people’s opinions regarding your own safety and wellbeing? Why do you want to continue living the greater part of your life in hell and torment, all because of the importance you have accorded a fellow human? Thank God for that lady in this story, that she didn’t have to pay the ultimate price, for enduring years of agony, all because she cared about what all of us would say. Amelia Earhart says, “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.” Here is my advice for you, consider all your loved ones whose lives would be sorely impacted if anything bad ever happened to you. So, rather than thinking about what the rest of us would think or say, do what is best for your life, and move on.
In wrapping this up, we can only make good on our life’s goals if we are truthful enough to release ourselves from all the fears we are hiding beneath. Stop living your life as a façade. Your life is so precious, and is a gift which should be enjoyed, not endured. Do not allow anyone; including yourself make it anything else. Do the Right Thing!
To your continued success. Cheers!!!