We are wrapped, clothed in fear. We are consumed by it. Our fear tells us that life itself is a predator. So, we do what fear does – we wear masks, and the very ones that fear wears. When fear puts on the mask of aggression, we become violent to hide our weakness. When fear puts on the mask of pride, we become arrogant to hide our insufficiency. When fear puts on the mask of acceptance, we become possessive to hide our loneliness. We are so consumed by our fear that we embody it, and it both fills us and wraps us. Toss aside your fear. It can only destroy you if you continue to allow it.
Fear speaks. And the things Fear tells you are a threat are minute, small enough to hold in your hand, and it is usually when you hold them too long and stare into them that Fear convinces you that they are massive. Crush them. Stand tall in the knowledge that those things that you once shook at were so frail.
When we clothe ourselves in Fear, we do what Fear does. Fear must convince you that illusions are real, so you act out to convince the world that your illusory persona is the real you. When Fear holds you back, you hold others at bay. Fear tells you that you are secure, but it hides from you your loneliness. Fear calls itself your friend, as it eats you from the inside like a hidden parasite screaming at you the announcement of its presence.
The tap root of our identity crisis is our fear. The fear that we will be destroyed, the fear that we will be judged, the fear that we will be exposed. Fear leads to shame, and shame becomes a shackle. This shackle holds us back from living a fulfilled life. It holds us back in our relationships, in our careers, in our communities, in our spiritual walk, and in our familial connections. Shame and fear are like symbiotic worms, feeding off each other, and then feeding off of us. Fear leads to shame, shame feeds our fear, we consult with our fear, and then fear calls out to our shame again. “But, it all comes back to me in the end.” Like anything else, we are the deciding factor in this relationship.
We, ultimately, have the final say to break off the relationship between ourselves, our fear, and our shame. Like all things, it is the confrontation that ends it. Confronting our fear, takes its power away. Once Fear loses its power, then shame loses its grip. Then, like heavy chains, they fall off. Then we can stand tall and walk forward.
For months, I debated writing this project. Part of me said that I didn't know enough. Part of me said that no one would read it. Part of me said that those who did would only ever laugh at and ridicule my writing. Then there were the shameful words of my father burning my brain. Much of that shame told me that I would never be successful because I was told I would never be successful. Then, I had a conversation with a friend.
My friend, Johnny, was held back by the same form of thoughts from proceeding to promote himself on social media. So I spoke to him words that I had spoken once before: build first, design later.
Those words would not leave my mind. So, I turned on my computer and wrote the first post. Then the post took over and wrote itself. Fear held me back, shame held me back, and I kept consulting them. Then those words come out of my mouth. “Build first. Design later.” It wasn't until I stopped consulting my fear and shame that progress could be found. When I started building, I ended the relationship with fear and shame on this subject and began this journey with you.
When we can fully understand what holds us back, and that we can – and must – confront it, only then can we find the tools and materials necessary to build our identity.