The Fear Almost All Of Us Have Inside & How To Overcome It

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worried woman looking out window

What would your response be if I asked you, "What is your biggest fear?"

You might answer "public speaking" or "spiders." Other answers may be more on the introspective side and be something like, "I have a fear of dying alone," or "I have a fear of developing a disease that greatly impacts my current lifestyle."

All of those fears are understandable and likely shared by many human beings. However, in the time that I have spent exploring both my own internal landscape as well as the clients that I am privileged to walk alongside, I have come to understand that often our biggest fear lies much deeper than anything I have mentioned so far. 

I believe that our biggest fear is just being ourselves. And I'm here to say it — don't be afraid to be yourself. Below are the steps to take to overcome this fear and learn how to be happy with yourself. 

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Don't be afraid to be yourself. 

Often I see most of us (myself included) adjusting what we say, how we look, the way we act, etc. to fit whatever we believe our current situation requires. We check the "temperature" of the room, the conversation, or the relationship, and then we choose to only expose a part of ourselves.

The part that we believe will gain us acceptance, love, recognition, or whatever else we are seeking. 

Why do we do this? Why are we not able to fully express our true selves? What I have come to understand is that most of us believe that if we actually allow the true, authentic, genuine parts of ourselves to be fully expressed then we also run the risk of those parts of ourselves not being accepted.

The idea of someone rejecting a "false" or partial part of ourselves is generally not desirable, but ultimately not nearly as scary to us as our authentic self being rejected.

So we put on masks, add filters to what we say (and don't say), and build up defenses so that we can "protect" these very intimate and seemingly vulnerable parts of ourselves.

What's the problem with all that? Well, in a word...everything. Most of the surface issues that my clients come to me concerned about (relationships issues, work, emotional states, etc.) I have found to often be manifestations of not being either willing or able to fully express their own personal truth in their lives.

When we continually act as a chameleon to whatever external stimuli exist in our lives, we move farther and farther away from what genuinely resonates with us. The more out of alignment we become the more dis-ease tends to follow in almost any aspect of our lives.  

If you are still reading this, I'm going to assume that you believe that you have at least a small fear of sharing your true, authentic self, and that you understand where this fear comes from and why it may be causing some problems in your life. 

So, the next logical question is "What do I do about that?" Allow me to offer some suggestions that have worked well in my own life and in the lives of my clients. 

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Four steps to learn how to be happy with yourself:

1. Find out where you're not feeling comfortable. 

Become aware of areas of your life (both internally and externally) where you may not feel like you are fully expressing yourself. One of the tools I have found quite useful for this sort of deep self-inquiry is psychedelics.

I have found it is even better if you are able to combine the powerful molecules found in psychedelic plant medicines with a supportive, trusting relationship with a good friend, therapist, or other support professional.

Having a safe container where you can explore your own internal landscapes in a non-judgmental and supportive way can provide you with the opportunity to come face to face with the deepest parts of yourself without the immediate concern of "Is this part of myself going to be accepted or not?" 

2. Letting go of your ego can help you learn how to be yourself around others. 

Understand that no one is really all that interested in you or what you are doing. I don't mean this in a negative way, but simply that I have found it to be true.

Most of us are primarily (if not almost exclusively) focused on ourselves pretty much all the time. Coming to this realization has been one of the things that have provided me with a vast amount of freedom in my life to live in a way that's in alignment with who I am now, and also who I want to be as I move forward. 

3. Ease out of feeling self-conscious one step at a time. 

Practice exposing small parts of your authentic self where it feels safe, perhaps starting in your own home. Then move forward with little steps that each feel slightly more edgy than the last step.

One way I practice this is by popping in some headphones, turning on a favorite song, and dancing my way through the grocery store.

Do you know who seems to care or be concerned? Nobody. How beautiful is that? Remember, every journey is completed one step at a time. 

4. People struggle with feeling comfortable, and a happy life involves turning this around. 

I mentioned earlier that most of us act as temperature gauges. We check the temperature of "the room" and then adjust ourselves accordingly. I would encourage you to consider trying to move from temperature gauge to thermostat.

A thermostat sets the temperature. If the room feels too "cold," it warms it up. When the temperature gets too "hot," it provides a nice cool breeze to chill everything out. 

Being open and honest takes time. 

If this sounds like it has the potential to be a fairly long and challenging road, I can tell you from personal experience that it certainly can be. I don't believe that it has to be, but often it's not an overnight change either.

The desire we have for feeling acceptance from others is hard-wired into our DNA. From a very early age, we are taught to do certain things to win affection, and to not do other things to make sure we are included or accepted.

So we then adopt a strategy of constantly changing ourselves to fit whatever we believe will give us the love, attention, acceptance, financial opportunity, etc. that we desire. 

However, I propose that until you get to know yourself intimately, and are then able to live from a place of genuine authenticity, you will always feel some level of general unease and discomfort. 

This is because you're living a life that's out of alignment with who you truly are. The answer? Don't be afraid to be yourself. 

If this resonates with you then I would encourage you to follow these steps so that you too can live a life of joy from a place of genuine authenticity.

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Troy Madsen is a certified Psychedelic Integration Professional who's passionate about supporting individuals along their personal healing journey. Learn more about Troy and his work on his website