This is the paradox behind imposter syndrome. The harder we try to protect ourselves from failure… from success… from shame… from being found out… from being known…
the more we suffer.
Because it reinforces the message that we aren’t good enough, and that people will harm us if they know what we’re really like.
It makes us feel rejected 100% of the time, instead of only when someone is actually rejecting us or something about us. And it makes that rejection, whether real or imagined, a thousand times more painful — and makes it all too easy to read every situation as rejection.
All of which, in a vicious cycle, makes us want to protect ourselves even more, which leads to more pain, which leads to more self-protective fear and retreat….
The way out is to reverse the cycle. To identify what’s positive, among our fears, and double down on it. To forgive and heal what aspects of us need to be healed. To create the love, compassion, and understanding for ourselves that we would cheerfully give to a friend in the same position.
It’s not easy. It’s not fast. But it is possible.