The Fear of being Open

I'd planned on writing something else. In fact, I wrote about something else, but as I began the final proofing of the post, my stomach began to twist itself into knots. It's not the first time I've been scared being open about my love related work, and so I decided to see if I had better luck writing about the fear of being open itself. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one: even people who have been teaching and leading for years find it scary to open up and be more public.

For me several things make it scary. I feel vulnerable when I share my love work because it's really important to me. I'm hoping for connection, to help others. It would hurt to find that my offer of openness was not respected or that people value me less because of what I'm doing.

I'm afraid that by being open, I'll be less effective. I'm worried that my openness will get in the way of my professional computer work. I'm worried that people will evaluate my spiritual work and somehow find it wanting and use that against me somehow. Perhaps I'll find it harder to learn what I need or to find people to work with.

I'm worried that by being honest and open, I'll make people who are important in my life uncomfortable. This has actually happened a number of times and it can be quite painful.

It's kind of scary to open up and write and speak your thoughts into the void, wondering if anyone out there is reading, and wondering whether they value what you have to say. I suspect all authors have this fear to some degree.

At some level I'm worried about being perceived as a freak. Hmm, that last isn't a very NVC way of putting it. Perhaps I need a certain form of acceptance and desire to be secure in my human interactions. Sometimes when I've learned that someone has read something I've written, I feel exposed and naked. I'll find myself in a social situation and realize that someone I only know professionally or know hardly at all knows rather a lot more about the intimate details of how I interact with my gods, lovers and self than I would have chosen to share in that context. So, when I talk about being perceived as a freak I'm talking about that need for acceptance not being met.

I'm also worried about respecting others and their paths. I talk to gods; I mean that quite literally. Some people are uncomfortable with that. Someone might reasonably feel uncomfortable when they consider other aspects of my path. I want to find a balance where I can be open but not force openness on people in contexts where they are uncomfortable with that openness.

It's interesting that context figures prominently in two different directions. I'm happy being open in a context where I'm hoping/asking people to consider my words as a way to consider self-growth and love. I'm uncomfortable when I find that openness pulled into another context where I would not choose to be as open. Symmetrically, I'm sad and disappointed when I think someone might find themselves in the context of my openness without wanting to be there.

Writing these fears down is helping to make them mine and bring them somewhere constructed. Understanding the fear, I can contrast it against the good of being open. I want to build a world that rewards openness and where people can choose to be open about their growth. I've got to take the first step, and that drives everything else. Yes, it's painful when I am open with those who I care about and they are not comfortable with the openness or with who I am. I think it would eventually be much more painful were I to hide from them and let their perception of me drift apart from the reality.

In principle people could try and use my openness against me. I haven't seen that happen very often, and it seems far outweighed in my experience by the good that comes from being open and challenging others to grow.

Yes, I do sometimes feel exposed when people know me in different contexts than I expect. However, over time as I gain confidence and comfort with all the aspects of myself, this matters less. Generally people respect boundaries and if they choose to find me in a personal context, they will respect that in other settings.

So, yeah, this is kind of scary, but it's also very rewarding. Thanks for listening. I think that reasonably soon I'll feel comfortable sharing posts I have queued.