Growing up, I had a paralyzing fear that often kept me from maturing, building important relationships, or even making small changes to my lifestyle.
Like many fears held by people living in the first world, it was completely irrational. I always liked to think of myself as a pretty logical person, but even so, I allowed myself to remain firmly in the grip of this fear for years.
It’s not a fear I’ve heard talked about before. I have no idea how common or rare it is.
Maybe it’s one of those things that lots of people have, but nobody puts to words. Or maybe it’s just me.
Or maybe I’m just not using the right search terms.
On the surface, it may have looked like I was simply afraid of change. But I wasn’t; I wanted to make the changes I was afraid to make. And besides, I was already used to dramatically changing circumstances, having lived in four different states before I even made it to middle school.
This was something different. I was not afraid of change itself. Not at all.
The easiest way to put it, is that I was afraid of being perceived to have changed myself.
I was afraid of people thinking I was doing something I “wouldn’t normally do”.
It wasn’t just negative judgment that I feared either. I was afraid of making an unexpected positive impression too.
I had a mental picture of what I thought others perceived me to be. And I was terrified of being seen to deviate from that picture.
This was, without a doubt, the biggest fear that held me back while growing up.
In the video below, I go into more detail about my experience with this fear.