Many of us walk around feeling watched, judged and even out of place in public. The same goes for social media, which leads us to create another version of ourselves; let’s call it our public or shadow self for this post. We do this because, otherwise, our anxiety is high. The shadow being is accepted, fits into the perceived norms and doesn’t require a second look.
However, the shadow isn’t our authentic self, it lacks a unique personality, hides raw emotions and keeps evolving with trends. It stands in the spotlight of every moment to keep us safe. Yet, the question is safe from what? Safe from showing people we are a little goofy? Safe from disagreeing with our “friends”? The list goes on, but the answer to all the questions is the same; The safety it provides is an illusion that can disappear at any moment.
A lot of research shows the creation of the shadow self comes from the need to fit in or a moment in our development that has left us wanting or needing more. It can come from a massive or minuscule event that forces us to create a protector. Some version of us that can fill the void and prevent us from fully feeling anything. Hence calling it a shadow or public self because the mask or veil can come down when we want. Yet, the dominance it ends up playing in our life comes from our inability to be different, which ultimately stems from fear.
However, I believe it comes from feeling like there is a spotlight on us at all times. We imagine that everyone has an opinion about our actions, an important one at that. Since we are the centre of our universes, why shouldn’t we always be on display? Yet, the truth is if each person believes they are the centre of their universes. They are doing the same thing as we are, looking around feeling judged or out of place.
When we realize this notion, something spectacular happens. We begin to see that there is no need to focus so much energy on others or what they could be thinking because nine times out of ten, they aren’t. In fact, it’s the perfect opportunity to let our authentic self out in hopes that it will inspire others to as well. Even if just one person follows our lead and another follows theirs, everything begins to snowball.
See, when we normalize being authentic, we become happier, healthier and less anxious. It allows us to build stronger connections while creating a life that is truly worthy of us. You are stronger than you think! Also, if you are looking for more content or prefer videos check out @fend.r on Instagram the IGTV side has similar content 🙂