This question came to me when asked in a different way – what negative “rule” do I live by? But the answer is the same.
For me, I already knew the answer on some level. I’ve been hiding. My whole life. I don’t like people
looking at me, I don’t want people to judge me – essentially I DON’T WANT TO BE SEEN. (Sorry for
yelling, so unlike my wallflower self!)
But well, it really struck me. Maybe you can relate. I saw others get criticized when they acted out as
kids. If I got called on, it was putting me on the spot. Maybe I didn’t know the answer, and that was
BAD. The only time I saw people get attention was for something bad. And, well, I didn’t want that!
So being noticed came with all sorts of anxiety. In public, in the classroom – I was hyper aware of
people looking at me, and hence judging me. And I couldn’t handle scrutiny. I would do anything not to
be noticed – sit in the back of the class, never volunteer for anything, never raise my hand, and of course
don’t talk to strangers!
The occasional time I’d talk to someone new, it was horrifying and I assumed they thought I was weird.
Now, don’t ask me why, I suppose because I had such anxiety about it that I assumed everyone could
see that and make fun of me. I had a few bullies in my schooling, that certainly didn’t make me want to
reach out and touch someone.
It has become a pattern that is really unhelpful for living a full life. I have recognized it and am taking
steps – signing up for Toastmasters for one, putting a Facebook page out there – but it’s a work in
progress. My pattern to lie low helped me stay “safe” in some ways, but it has become detrimental to a
living a full life. So I ask you – what patterns are no longer serving you?