It’s been a while since my last episode release and there is a good reason for that. I am dedicating the entire episode to this topic. The idea for this episode started with a conversation with one of my friends, more so about my level of frustration about how concerned I am with what other people think of me. I just turned 38 and I still care way too much about what other people think about me. It debilitates me from sharing myself and exposing myself, especially on a larger scale like social media and YouTube.
I normally keep my conversations to one on one but if I’m in a group setting and I’m having a conversation with someone, if I notice someone is listening in on the conversation I immediately get anxious and self-conscious. I think this is a fear that not a lot of people talk about but if I had to estimate it is probably the biggest fear that exists.
I think there is a big fear around putting yourself out there in front of groups of people and feeling like the entire world is watching and critiquing. It’s quite a vulnerable position to be in. For myself I’m even more concerned with what other people who are not directly part of the conversation are thinking about me. Most likely around what their judgments and criticisms are of me. I still try to read people’s minds and assume people are criticizing me or judging me. I myself am my own worst critic and it’s my greatest talent – putting myself down.
Now if you have ever done shadow work or know the mirror effect of how human beings operate then it would also make sense that I’m critical and judgmental of others. I’ll also state that if you are judgmental of others then you are probably more critical of yourself than you are of others. Typically that is how it works. It’s how I operate and I’m sick of it.
Some people don’t have to deal with this problem at all. I see some people say anything they want without caring the least bit about what other people think about them. Now there are some things you need to realize about me. I am not the quintessential guy or maybe I am in this day and age. I personally can sense other people’s emotions. A term called an Empath resonates with me deeply and if I’m in a room filled with people it will impact me emotionally and energetically. I also consider myself a highly sensitive person based on the book by Elaine Aron. I am highly considerate of others and their space. In my adult life I found it easier to just be alone than to be around others, but I also am someone who wants to be connected and living a life of isolation doesn’t allow for that.
I often find that some of the most vocal voices who say some of the harshest things don’t have much empathy or the ability to put themselves in other people’s shoes. This is not something I envy. I believe we are made of the same stuff, so I don’t want to alienate myself from my own kind. I see all of you as me. I have often found my empathic sensitivity to be both a curse and a gift. I just haven’t figured out how to master it in a way where I don’t personally get emotionally reactivated by it. Or maybe I just need to accept that is how things are.
From my experience, the goal is to master your internal self, so that nothing outside of you can upset you or cause a reaction. This is how to be a Jedi in the modern world and it’s the process of self-actualization. You don’t let anything external affect what’s happening to you internally. This is why overcoming your fears is so critical because fears are always a projection of something bad that is going to happen in your external world.
I have a fear that people are judging me and criticizing me. I don’t even know if people are judging and criticizing me but this pattern has been around for a long time so it occurs to me as real. As if it’s really happening and I can logically assert that it isn’t happening. Even if people are they are not spending most of their time judging and criticizing me. We are all too self-absorbed to be worried about what others think about us.
I’m going to tell you how this fear has negatively impacted me. My goal is to be a prominent leader in the personal growth and development industry. My path in life has been challenging and I’ve had to overcome many obstacles. I have a wealth of knowledge and wisdom I can share with others. The only problem is, no one knows who I am and I’m not yet in a place to fully expose who I am. I spend a lot of time in isolation because I don’t want to put myself out there. The unwarranted fear of being disliked or criticized or ostracized or marginalized or rejected, which are all a flavor of the same thing, is probably the biggest fear that has stopped my path to success in my career. This fear stopped me from even moving forward with this podcast for 2 years.
I limit the amount of videos I create and if I post a video or blog or any other content, if I don’t think it’s near perfect I will become so hard on myself that I’ll unconsciously not create anything for weeks. This is why my latest episode took so long to come out, it’s been over a month. Now I’ve made a lot of progress, primarily because I’ve worked on other programs that also influence this. I’ve integrated over a 150 parts during the quarantine, many of which had to do with my avoidant personality. I’ve found a bunch of parts that would show up like the part of me that was always waiting for bad news or the part of me that was envious of other people’s successes. Those are just two out of 150 parts I’ve discovered and cleared.
I’ve shed a lot of programming in the past couple months and the past 8 months I’ve been consistently clearing programming. Since October I’ve been working with my coach Kelsey who lives up in Ottawa to clear a lot of core limiting beliefs. I’ve probably cleared about 15, from not being good enough, to being weak, being a loser, to not being enough, each of which has allowed me to grow confidence in finally launching my podcast. Although there is a program running in the background that has been driving me mad and it has to do with what other people think about me. It shouldn’t matter and it really doesn’t matter but it’s one of my biggest triggers and now that it is fully in my awareness I’m going to clear it.
You see this is the key to self-actualizing and to overcoming self-inflicted obstacles is to see what your unconscious mind is doing. There is so much power in discovering a pattern or behavior, because they typically are hidden from us, even if you know you’ve been doing it your entire life, you still need to bring it fully to the forefront of your awareness. Sometimes we think we are aware of what’s running in the background and often two things can happen which makes us miss the true culprit. First there could be multiple programs affecting the same behavior, like me discovering 5 parts causing my imposter syndrome. I’m going to do a separate podcast on imposter syndrome which is a condition where people feel like a phony or a fraud.
The second reason to not overcoming a limiting program is that you haven’t gotten to the source or the root cause of the program. I haven’t gotten to the root of this program of caring so much about what other people think of me, but I have the tools to be able to do so. I don’t want to be so careful with my words all the time. I want my sense of humor back because I shut it down in fear my sarcasm will offend people -- even though it doesn’t and if it does it’s a reaction to what other people are dealing with. I don’t want to be cruel or unkind to people. I want to empower people and I also want to be fully self-expressed. I want to be able to tell a story and get a room full of people laughing.
I can also see how this has been progressing over time. This is what happens with programs, the more you experience them, the more they get reinforced. I can give you a quick example. I was posting some controversial stuff around the coronavirus on Facebook and how we as a country are handling the situation. I see what countries like Sweden and Japan are doing, which doesn’t involve a lock-down, although they are protecting the most vulnerable and that just makes a lot more sense to me.
I received one form of criticism of being called insensitive to front line workers for posting an article about Sweden and it triggered me to want to completely go off of Facebook. I found a chrome extension where I ended up deleting all my Facebook posts of the past because I was concerned my past posts would somehow be used against me in some way. This is just straight up paranoia and I did it from a place of a reactionary state. This is the program that always seems to be the biggest disruption in my life. I no longer want to get defensive or reactive.
I think it also has gotten reinforced by how the world has changed in the past decade. This program running my behavior has been watching intently to people getting marginalized so easily. You can also say something that can be taken out of context. You can show a 30 second clip of someone speaking and cut out the previous 2 minutes which contains the full message. I don’t even intend to say controversial things. We live in a day and age where people are highly reactive to words. My unconscious mind sees this and wants to protect me from harm. My own unconscious mind is censoring me as a form of safety.
I’m also not perfect. The moments where I do say the wrong thing are the moments where I am reactive. The reaction is a part of me that shows up with a specific role to fill. One part I’m certain to clear is the part that gets immediately defensive when feeling attacked. I’m not even getting attacked, it just occurs that way. It can be the mildest form of criticism and it’s the criticism that causes the defensiveness. Granted there was a lot of programming created from my upbringing. My mother and my Catholic upbringing included a lot of criticism. I was a good kid and still got a brunt of criticism from these two places. I always felt like I was doing something wrong and shame was one of my most frequented emotions. I became afraid of my words and actions.
People are familiar with the fear of public speaking but this fear of public speaking is lumped into a bigger fear of being judged or criticized. Human beings are so unwilling to speak their minds and some certainly shouldn’t. It’s hurting us in this time because speaking up is necessary for leadership. One must speak up about the controversial topics that are occurring in this country. There is a lot of division and we need good people to speak up and voice those opinions. We need to overpower the narrative and show this country that a majority of us believe in unity, equality and fairness.
One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is not caring what other people think about you and at the same time still care about all people. If you become so sure of yourself and your own personal worth and esteem then no other human being can use words to harm you. This is what I want this world to take on. Now an important thing to remember is that the reason we are so sensitive to what other people think about us is due to limiting programs and parts created from our past. If we feel a sense of lack or worth in ourselves than it’s easy for other people’s words to trigger us. I often get defensive or I go into self-shaming myself. These two things immediately bring me to a place of wanting to isolate myself and to hide from the world.
I don’t know if you realize your external reality is created by your subconscious programming. The more integrated you become, the more whole and complete you become -- the more powerful you become. I’m talking about the good kind of power, not power by force. Becoming a whole person is rare, but certainly possible. I am still breaking down the conditioning from my past and all I desire is to be connected to people. I see people do this effortlessly and it takes a conscious effort to do this. It’s not easy for me. When I first meet a person I feel extremely inadequate. During my extreme avoidant personality days it was outright painful, with full out feelings of anxiety. I hated it. Now it’s a mild discomfort, but I’m still not free to say anything I want. I’m cautious. I use few words and I give the space for other people to talk. I am certainly not someone who loves to talk and share myself, but it’s getting better.
I can tell you one thing that I’ve learned through this fear of what other’s think about me. It’s good to say the wrong thing sometimes. No matter what, not everyone is going to like what you say and on top of that everyone has programming that will cause them to react to certain things. Often a reaction will cause an action that leads to some form of regret. This is the human condition and understanding how human beings operate allows for a lot more acceptance and grace for each other. I say things in reactivated states that I regret. We all operate this way. Everyone is looking through their own filter or lens of the world. Not a single one of us is the same and it’s important to remember that.
The more I bring awareness to the part of me that reacts to criticism and the more I pay attention to it, the less force it has on me. Here is another important component to remember –acceptance. It’s such a simple and basic tool used in many eastern religions like Buddhism and Hinduism, but it’s important to consciously accept yourself. For a very long time I’ve been beating myself for not being more outgoing and extroverted until I finally just accepted that I keep to myself, speak few words and I’m mostly introverted. There is great power in that and in the moments I truly desire I am outgoing and extroverted. What you resist, persists – such an important thing to remember because resistance is suffering. Acceptance is the answer. Accept where you are in life and by continuing to practice this allows good things to enter into your life.
I am going through the cycle of creating content and sharing the content which will fire my internal state of paranoia and then I will take a break from creating and sharing. At the end of the day I continue to create and share my content. No one really cares to be honest. We are all living in our own universes. We care about our own realities and other people’s realities are not as relevant. People easily forget what other people say, but if you are like me I can hold onto something I’ve said for over a decade. I often replay conversations over in my head or try to figure out if I upset someone with my words.
The best thing you can do is be honest when you feel like you have said the wrong thing. Be open to understanding other people’s situations and where they are coming from. Bring awareness to your emotions because these emotions are telling you something you need to learn. Be free to be and be free to act. As much as people say they want to be happy I think the one thing people truly seek is freedom. Freedom leads to happiness. The more freedom you can have over your thoughts, emotions, reactions, and behaviors, I can assure you the happier you will be.
The freedom that is most limiting for me is the inability to speak my mind whenever and wherever I want to. I am a person who tackles these things straight on. This fear will no longer be present and currently willpower is my greatest ally in this cause. I believe willpower is the least effective way to create change, but it still can be effective. I haven’t been able to find the source of it on an unconscious level, primarily because I think it’s just a whole lot of conditioning getting in the way. The amount of interactions I’ve had with other people is high so I don’t think there is one single cause to the problem. I’ll continue to clear programs and I’ll continue to step through the discomfort. These two things have become a way of life that are insurmountably effective for my personal freedom, peace and happiness. That’s all I got, take care ya’ll.