The Fear of Being Noticed
Don’t look at me.
Don’t listen to me.
Don’t judge me.
Don’t notice me.
Don’t … acknowledge me.
These were the subconscious thoughts running through my entire physiology for years.
I was terrified to be seen or heard.
I didn’t want anyone to notice me.
I hated confrontation. I didn’t want to be judged. I didn’t believe I would be able to stand up for myself.
More-over, I didn’t even feel that I had much worth or anything to contribute to the world.
Therefore, I didn’t put much effort and weight into expressing myself.
Keep your head down and no-one will notice you.
I’ve come a long way since those days.
It’s not necessarily any easier, but there’s an improvement.
We all started with nothing.
And while we all have taken different routes to get to where we are today, we are all essentially on equal terms.
Once I realized that I am no worse, nor no better, than you, I began to embrace the things that make me “me.”
Where I was once afraid of being seen listening to certain kinds of music, I now embrace it.
Where I was once afraid of being seen listening to motivational content, I now embrace it.
Where I was once afraid of doing anything remotely “unusual,” I now embrace it.
I haven’t perfected it; far from it. But I continue to make progress.
There are still things I struggle with.
Embracing the things I want to wear.
Saying the things I want to say.
Using my voice in a way that allows me to be heard.
Sharing my beliefs in a way that hopefully inspires someone.
Accepting the quests I want to pursue.
Dancing and openly expressing what I hear in the music.
But in all of these things, it begins with accepting myself from the inward out.
Not outward in.
The worst thing for me to do is to worry about what you think.
Doing so will destroy the value we can put in ourselves, when we focus on what other people think as the only basis for whether or not we do something.
People will think what they want to think and we can’t control that.
We can either choose to blend in and live life overall unassumingly (bleh).
Or we can choose to embrace who we are and step into life with excitement and vibrancy.
For me it begins by shifting my default subconscious from trying to avoid being noticed all together, to being okay with who I am, so that I have the courage to express myself in the world – in whatever way that takes.
Whether that’s talking, dancing, sharing thoughts, listening to music, wearing something different, going on an adventure, getting out of my comfort zone … whatever it is.
All that weird stuff you do is what makes you “you.”
Don’t focus on trying to “avoid judgement,” or “get people to like you.”
Focus on making yourself strong enough on your own so that their judgements don’t even penetrate you.
Because your voice is just as important and valid as anyone else’s.
Nobody owns your journey but you.
And I suspect my journey will involve a lot of flinging colorful paint all over the place.
They always did say to watch out for the quiet ones.