The doorway to freedom

Peeling off the layers of human behavior is an insightful exercise indeed. This year, whilst working on my own personal development, I had the opportunity to engage in some pro bono coaching work with one of my close friends, which I welcomed gratefully as it was the perfect opportunity for me to hone in my professional coaching skills.


Through months of peeling off layers of my friend’s behavior, personality and character, one consistent behavior that I uncovered is that human beings play a lot of mind games to hide what they truly feel – not just to others, but especially to themselves!

Needless to say this is a psyche-driven behavior which is fueled by the fear of pain and rejection. In fact this is actually debilitating for some of us, as we end up wasting so many opportunities to connect with others, hence why some people suffer from social anxiety.

My coaching work revealed that people are so fearful that they would rather ‘protect’ themselves from the illusion of emotional pain, rather than making the most of the opportunities that are right in front of them. In other words, our mind chatter takes over and we unconsciously create virtual safe places to protect ourselves from having to face the potential pain that needs to be dealt with in order to come through to the other side.

Of course this compelled me to analyse my own behavior relating to this issue of fear of rejection. I mentally went through all the times I didn’t approach someone I really wanted to know, just because I allowed my fear to limit my possibilities, or because I thought I knew what “they” would say or what “they” would think. I chose to play safe, and in doing so I missed the chance to connect with a lot of interesting people.

But what I also realized is that so many of us settle for second best or the “safe” option because we have not been taught the skills required for cultivating resilience and unlearning the limited frameworks we are used to. What I do know sure, is that living authentically requires a complete change of mindset, a deliberate shaking of our comfort zones – it is only through testing the edges of our comfort zones that we can learn how far we’re ready to aim.

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Rumi Quotes in association with Nasseema Taleb

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