How does the fear of being seen show up for you?
Are you a wallflower at social gatherings and networking events? Do you avoid them altogether?
Do you drag your feet on marketing activities that would take your business to the next level?
Do you watch others’ success with envy while you struggle to claim your place in the spotlight?
The fear of being seen can be a paralyzing subconscious block – especially within business. It’s pretty obvious that if you want your business to thrive, then you have to put yourself out there so that customers will find you, you can serve them, and they can pay you.
For many people I serve, this fear is especially huge because they’re called to serve at a very high level within their lifetime – to become “Oprah famous” – which means eventually being known and seen by millions of people.
While you consider all that, here’s the part that might make you bang your head against your keyboard:
In addition to the fear of being seen, you might also have a compulsion to be seen!
Yes, it is 100% possible – and very common – to hold two competing beliefs in your subconscious mind.
When this happens, it’s because one belief is tied to your need to be worthy and the other is tied to your need to be safe. That’s because those are the two Core Wounds – unworthiness and unlovability – and every limiting belief originates from one or the other.
“But wait, Christina – you said the second wound is ‘unlovability’ but now you’re talking about safety. How do those two relate?” The subconscious mind equates love with safety. More specifically, we believe that if we aren’t loved, we will die. This originates from infancy, when our survival programming says that since we can’t take care of ourselves, our parents must love us so that they’ll take care of us. Unfortunately this conditioning doesn’t naturally go away as we grow up, so the need to be loved (and therefore safe) is still within us as adults unless we consciously remove it.
Now let’s talk about how you can have a need to be seen and a fear of being seen, and which one wins.
Being seen leads to feeling worthy. “See me! Praise me! Tell me I’m good!” is the subconscious message that plays on a loop. If unworthiness is a strong wound for you, then you will have a strong need to fill it by being seen and praised by others.
Even if unworthiness is not a strong wound for you, a healthy level of being seen is still necessary for your work and other areas of your life.
But that doesn’t negate the fact that being seen might not feel safe.
So while you might crave worthiness and being seen, it might not feel safe because at best, it subjects you to the risk of criticism and rejection. And at worst, you might silently fear it will cause you physical harm, especially if there was trauma or abuse in your early years. (This is also true if your mother had a history of abuse and conditioned you to live in fear like she did. I specially say mother because our lovability patterns, healthy or unhealthy, come from our mothers.)
What I’ve observed is, between these two competing beliefs (“I must be seen” and “It’s not safe to be seen”), the fear of being seen will usually win out because it’s tied to safety. At its core, your subconscious instincts are always trying to protect you from physical death more than anything else, and since you can be unworthy and still physically live, any pattern tied to being safe will win out.
So what can you do to get over the fear of being seen?
First, try the ol’ “feel the fear and do it anyway” approach. Recognize that waiting for fear to go away doesn’t work. The only thing that eradicates fear is doing the thing that fear tells you not to do.
For some people, that is enough, and as soon as they do something to be seen at the next level, the fear goes away.
But for other people, like those who become my Platinum clients, trying to push through fear causes their defenses to push back even more. While it’s still true that fear doesn’t go away until they do the thing, this group of people needs to work on rewiring their defenses first.
This is true if you experienced trauma in your early years, like I did. I spent my whole childhood in fight-or-flight mode, waiting for my mother to explode with anger at the slightest trigger and probably hit me. The best way for me to feel safe was to hide from her in the safety of my room. Being seen by her never felt safe and loving, and when I started my business, I had to face those survival instincts I’d spent my childhood honing. I yearned to be seen and I understood how necessary it was for my business, but I kept taking one step forward, one step back.
For me, the real breakthrough only happened once I healed my Core Wound of unlovability, my fear of abandonment, and other patterns that I relentlessly dug into and have now incorporated into Fearless Freedom.
So if you’ve tried the “feel the fear and do it anyway” approach but you still feel as invisible as ever, don’t be ashamed. Recognize that it’s OK to seek out qualified help. In fact, it’s necessary.
And it’s time. The world needs you.