Shocked teen girl. Half of the face

Are you afraid of embarrassment?

Do you like it when people laugh at you? Neither do I. We all have a fundamental need to maintain our dignity. My goodness, people have gone to war over “slights.” We all have a need to “save face” and not be embarrassed. We all have a need to make people like us because we are afraid of their scorn. Sometimes, we forget how deep-seated this fear can be.

Amazingly, the single biggest fear people have when they have a desire to change careers or to be on the path toward designing their ideal life, is the fear of embarrassment, ridicule and rejection. At first, I did not think that this would be the number one fear, but it is overwhelmingly so.

The roots of this fear start very early in life. We are taught to please our parents from a very early age and when we don’t, we can often be punished. When this “people pleasing” is excessive; when our parents or guardians need more and more obedience, many children turn into full adults, who push down their self-awareness and life’s purpose so they can “please the world.” As a result, when many adults want to change careers or their lives they fear being ridiculed and being excluded from their co-workers, friends and families.

Ridicule and rejection

Those who spend years and years trying to please others are frequently emotionally crippled – usually through no fault of their own. It even carries over to the workplace where sometimes the desire to change career paths or job assignments even within the same company are thought of as being too difficult because people are fearful of being mocked (“Who are you to have that job?”). Somewhere our parents lurk under our desks or in our conference rooms!

Self-esteem, you see, is something that can be very fragile if not developed and nurtured.

While we cannot go back in time to change the way we were raised, we should be aware that those who ridicule us are often more faulty than those who are being ridiculed. This is a difficult concept for many of us to internalize.

Why would a person ridicule another for wanting to change their circumstances for the better? There are several reasons. Certainly jealousy is a big component. You want to change your life and there are those jealous of you for moving on and growing as a person. Healthy people would applaud you and wish you well. Jealous people are unhealthy.

Why would a co-worker, a parent or even a friend reject your ideas and laugh at them? Another, very common reason for them to mock your ideas is that they are in a job that they, themselves, hate. They are fine as long as you complain about your circumstances (because you’re both in the same boat). It makes them feel better when you express how miserable you are. However, the minute you say, “I don’t want to be miserable anymore,” it makes them feel as though you are abandoning them. They are afraid of making positive changes on their own. As a result, they want to drag you down with them – forever!

Sometimes a co-worker may make fun of you for wanting a change in your life because they are afraid that when you leave it will mean more work for them!

The point is that if you are fearful of designing your ideal life because of what others will say about you, remember that they may be dragging you down. It is probably not due to their concern for your wellbeing or your happiness. It is more likely that they are wrapped up in their own miserable situations. They may always find a way to make fun of your desire to change because they are afraid, embarrassed or feel inadequate themselves.

Push through your fears; don’t let the judgments of others dictate your life. I am here to help you on your journey!

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