The fear of being found out

Have you ever been invited to an event by a friend and they asked you to meet them there?

When this happens, the first thing I do is walk into the room and immediately search for my friend. I want to find my friend before someone has the chance to walk up to me ask why I am there.

That actually RARELY happens (unless it’s a ticketed event, etc.) but none the less it makes me nervous for some stupid reason. I hate having to awkwardly explain myself and tell them who I am and of course “swear that someone is actually meeting me”.

All of this through a nervous chuckle of course.

It’s why the majority of people don’t like showing up places by themselves or going places alone. At least it’s my reasoning and I’m assuming it’s yours as well.

I don’t want people to walk up and question me. I don’t want them to question me and what I’m doing. Which honestly, in turn, would make me feel embarrassed and therefore make me question myself.

The terrifying questions like, “What am I even doing here? Is the person really going to meet me? Do I belong here?”

It’s like the feeling of being the new kid on the first day of school or the new person at your job.

It’s the deep seeded feeling and fear of being found out.  Like people will actually think you look like the newbie, question if you really belong there, if we’re really invited, or that you actually have the qualifications to get the job done or not.

I’m assuming that most of us probably have this secret feeling that we are going to get found out. That someone is going to come in and call us on our B.S. at any moment.

Tell us we aren’t capable or we don’t have what we need to get the job done or be successful. Like them saying it actually makes it true, real, valid.

Maybe this is something that’s always been a part of the human psyche or maybe its new to society but either way, it’s weird and it creates a tension.

A tension that plays out in so many areas of life but I’ve noticed for myself specifically in the area of dating and relationships.

At one flip of the coin we all want intimacy and love but at the same time, we are all terrified of being found out.

This plays into our love lives because love is about intimacy, and intimacy is about exposure so by deductive reasoning you can’t have your safety and comfort AND have love and intimacy at the same time.

I say that like I am some kind of scientist or mathematician. I barely passed biology and I can barely spell mathematician.

I think maybe this can cause some of us to fall in love with the idea of love. We tell ourselves that we actually really want it but at the first sights of having to be uncomfortable or feeling weird, we jump ship.

Sometimes that comes in the forms of finding justifiable, “deal breakers” in the other person (or every person you meet) and calling it off completely. To others, it comes in the form of closing yourself off and giving your partner the cold shoulder in efforts to make them break up with you.

Maybe I’m the only one who has ever self-sabotage themselves in a relationship but I doubt it. Regardless, for a lot of us, when it doesn’t line up with the fairy tale, or an unrealistic dream that we’ve had time to cultivate and grow in our mind, we dip.

Some of us have done this so many times it’s scary…myself included in this equation.

I’ve heard that real love, the kind that you actually get in life, and not on the movie screens doesn’t look like your fantasies and daydreams.

I’d imagine that it probably looks less like perfection (whatever your version of perfection is) for the rest of your life and more like dying to yourself and preferring the other person.

Sure it will be magical in its own kind of real-life way, but it will likely look more like watching Netflix on the couch together, sharing hard stuff and being vulnerable through snotty tears. Creating every day inside jokes laughing about them, and getting into fights about small lame things.

Being in love with the idea of love is a slippery slope. So is self-protection. It’s important to think about how maybe being “found out” isn’t as scary as we think it will be.

I like to ask myself this question a lot, “What’s the worst that can happen?” And I think that applies to this theory.

What’s the worst that would happen if someone uncovered your imperfects? Maybe all they’d discover is that you are human like the rest of us 😉

I’m not condoning oversharing with just anyone but if somebody finds something personal out about you, if they choose to hold it over you or shove it in your face, they aren’t the type of person you would want to have in your life anyways.

Even the worst of mistakes God covers with his grace and died on the cross for, and this should be the standard of grace and mercy that we offer to those around us.

If you are still searching, this should be the standard you should desire to find in someone. Someone who is slow to anger and quick to love you and all of your flaws.

Open your mind to the idea of vulnerability, to the idea of being fully, unapologetically who you were made to be, and sharing that with someone.

And to the idea of actually seeing people for who they are and not who you want them to be based on their Instagram feed. I’m striving for this. I hope you will join me.

Maybe some practical steps to fighting this fear of being found out and changing these habits are…

  1. Recognizing that this is a pattern and seeking accountability.
  2. Asking the Holy Spirit to highlight ways that you might be doing this in your life.
  3. Talking to a counselor or a close friend about this it.
  4. Studying about how to become more vulnerable (Brene Brown is a great resource for this).

Thanks for reading. xoxo!

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