The fear of becoming more visible.

How visible are you 'allowed' to be?

Most of us have fears and doubts about becoming more visible – especially in our businesses and career, where the stakes seem very high.

A part of us really admires people who are putting themselves out there, who we see and hear from, who seem unafraid to share their opinions, their ideas and their gifts and talents.

Just have a think about who you admire, emulate… even slightly envy.

Because there’s another part of us that thinks: ‘Well, that’s OK for them, but there’s NO WAY I can do the same.’

And it goes on with: ‘I’ll be judged and criticized and commented on. People will pick me apart, be jealous of my success… and then they’ll be thrilled when I finally slip and fall and come crashing to the ground. No…thank…you.’

But, us human beings, we have a deep-seated need to be seen.

To be loved and appreciated, to achieve and to be respected by others, and to discover our purpose and live it!

 

Look at psychologist Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs. Start from the bottom and work up (just like life!):

Maslow's pyramid

So, we bounce up and down like rubber balls, aiming for the top, which feels so GOOD, but ever mindful of our safety and physiological comfort, those basic, foundational needs that are never going to go away.

And which create a lot of fear when we think we haven’t got them covered. (Think end-of-month-bills, job insecurity or even losing your home.)

When we are feeling a little safer once more, we venture out, aiming for the top – and becoming ever more visible the higher we get on our personal pyramid.

How successful we are on our quest depends on several things:

  • on our programming (what we were taught about being visible as we were growing up, about its appropriateness, desirability and possibility)
  • on the reception we get from those around us (the love and belonging)
  • on how we feel about these new achievements (esteem).

Maybe if we get enough encouragement and loving feedback, we can stay up there longer, get more done and feel great…at least for a while. Then it’s back to becoming the invisible (wo)man for a while.

Many of us have this pattern – of advancing and retreating, popping out and scurrying back into hiding.

And that’s perfectly OK. But it makes for very slow – and often very painful – going.

And the PAIN IS KEY. How we FEEL. The emotional pain that we experience, at a mental, energetic, and yes, even physical level.

Try it right now. Thing of something that you’ve been meaning to do in order to be seen more in your business, and that you still haven’t got around to.

(Maybe it’s creating your website, going to (or even giving!) interviews, making your business cards, giving talks, marketing yourself through a video…)

As you think about NOT getting on with it, what fears come up for you? Oh, they can be many and varied. Here are a few very common ones:

  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of criticism
  • Fear of change
  • Fear of being laughed at, feeling ridiculed
  • Fear of rejection
  • Fear of losing what we have
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Fear of success

 

And the accompanying emotions. Maybe it's:

  • anxiety
  • worry
  • shame
  • embarrassment
  • self-doubt
  • self-loathing
  • stuck-ness
  • sadness
  • overwhelm
  • or something else...

Can you feel them? As you think about that thing you’ve been procrastinating on, what emotions do you feel and where do you feel them in your body?

They feel so horrible – and they bring up so many nasty memories - that many people try to shut them down fast, numbing and distracting themselves ASAP (bring on binging on video games, Netflix, booze, comfort foods etc etc)

None of which is very healthy or solves the problem. Or gets us higher up our pyramid.

What can we do instead? Here are a few things you can do right now.

Scribble and Burn.

Set a timer for 15 minutes. On a piece of paper write down everything that comes up for you when you think about becoming more visible:

  • your emotions
  • your feelings
  • the voices in your head
  • the things other people have said to you
  • the clichés
  • the limiting beliefs
  • the negative energy.

Stay with it the whole time.
Then take your paper outside or use a baking tray – either way, in a safe space – and set fire to your list. (If a fire is really not an option you can tear it into a million pieces and get rid of it.)

 

Lean into the Feelings.

How often do you start to feel something – sad, angry, bothered etc.- and then push it right down? It’s not convenient or appropriate.
But unfortunately, the energy and the feelings are still there, in our nervous system and in our body. And they can show up in more ‘socially acceptable’ ways like headaches or aches and pains, or worse.
Try this.

  • Sit quietly where you won’t be interrupted.
  • Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths
  • FEEL the emotion. Where is the emotion located in your body? Can you describe it? As you observe it, does it move? How does it change?
  • Allow yourself to be with the emotion, acknowledge it, that it is there, to watch it and give it time and space to be, to honor your feelings.Remember, ‘what we resist persists’ so just let it be.
    Usually this exercise is very calming and healing and nurturing. If you are finding it hard to move through the emotions I would suggest you try the next exercise, EFT Tapping.

 

Use EFT Tapping.

Tapping on acupressure points on your face and torso can feel weird, but has been scientifically proven to help relieve stress, clear negative emotions and re-wire our nervous systems.

Check out my article EFT: The Whats, Whens and Hows to know more and find out how to ‘do’ tapping.

Here’s a script you can use as you tap round the points to clear your blocks to becoming more visible.

First rate your emotion on a scale of 1-10.

Tapping on the Side of the hand: Even though I’m afraid to be more visible, I love and accept myself completely. X3

Eyebrow: It’s scary to be more visible.

Side of the eye: I’m afraid people will criticize me.

Under eye: They won’t like me.

Under nose: I’m making myself vulnerable.

Chin: They’ll see that I’m not good enough.

Collar bone: I just want to run away and hide under the bed covers.

Under arm: Every time I step out the fear comes in.

Top of head: It’s just not worth it.

Eyebrow: And I have so many memories of times that I allowed myself to be more visible and I regretted it.

Side of eye: I somehow got into trouble, or felt bad.

Under eye: And I vowed to myself: ‘I’m not doing that again.'

Under nose: But I want to grow and be seen.

Chin: I have things to share with the world.

Collar bone: And I'm tired of playing small.

Under arm: Holding myself back this way.

Top of head: So I choose now to clear everything which is stopping me.

Eyebrow: The uncomfortable emotions and feelings.

Side of eye: Clearing them from my body and my energy system.

Under eye: And I'm choosing to re-wire my nervous system.

Under nose: Choosing to know that it is safe to be seen, to be visible.

Chin: That it's safe and that it's good.

Collar bone: Good for me and for the rest of the world.

Eyebrow: Clearing all the way back through my past

Side of eye: Through every time that it didn't feel this way.

Under eye: Through every memory

Under nose: Through every hurt

Chin: Clearing all of those

Collar bone: So that now I can move forward

Under arm: Becoming more and more visible.

Top of head: And feeling really great as I do so.

Take a deep breath. Rate how you are feeling now and notice any shifts you have.

 

Key Takeaways

1. According to Maslow, once our basic needs are met, it is human nature to strive for more.
2. Our success is determined by our early programming, how we are received by others and how we feel.
3. Pain - our emotional pain - is key. As a wake up call and a means of healing and growing.
4. Paradoxically, acknowledging and really feeling our emotions helps to shift them.
5. EFT Tapping is one way we can free ourselves from the negative emotional backlash we can experience as we become more visible.

Work with me - 1 to 1 or in a group.

Do you want to explore, really go in deep and clear the things that are stopping you from becoming more visible and enjoying being out in the world?

Click the button below to set up a free clarity call with me to find out how I can help you or email me HERE

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