Do you ever feel like you are holding back but you aren't sure why? You know you what you need to do and you feel like you're ready to do it but when it comes down to it, something is holding you back? This happened to me recently. 

My secret fear.

I have felt for a while now that I am not giving it my fullest. I often find myself procrastinating to do positive work and dragging my feet on consuming and implementing information that can help me be a better, happier person. I would see articles that would be helpful to read and save them for later instead of reading them and gleaning information from them right away. I've also had several ideas ruminating for the direction I'd like to take this site and had not acted on them. All of which has been disappointing but also frustrating because I couldn't pinpoint why I couldn't get my act together. Enter, my secret fear. 

I have been afraid of how my happiness and progress would make other people FEEL. 

I stumbled upon this fear completely by accident. I attended a conference recently and the speaker had mentioned that sometimes, people sabotage themselves because of a fear of how they will make other people feel. At the time, I remember hearing that and thinking, "I don't care what other people think of my journey." The key difference? One is how people will feel while the other is what people will think.  

Caring how others will feel.

As an in-progress reformed people pleaser, I try very hard not to overthink or overly care what others (i.e. strangers or distant acquaintances) think. But caring about how I will make people feel? That is totally different, especially for those closest to me. After the conference, I came home and was speaking with my husband about my frustration and disappointment with my lack of being able to take things to the next level for myself. As we continued to talk, I found myself blurting out, "I'm worried I'll make you feel bad."


It's one thing to not care how others think of you but we all want those who we are closest to (spouse, parents, siblings, friends) to feel/be happy. If we feel that our journey will make them feel bad about themselves, we hold back.

The fact of the matter.

The truth is, when you are your best self, those around you come up a level as well. Good friends and family will be happy for you and your journey. If they aren't? It's because you've reminded them of how they could change and it makes them uncomfortable. You can't let the fear of how others will feel hold you back from feeling and being your greatest self. 

Would you buy yourself a slice of cheesecake and then not eat it because someone else may feel bad that you ate it? That seems pretty absurd but the analogy works. You invest in yourself and you are living YOUR life (buying the cheesecake). Why would you hold back (not eat the cake) because someone else may feel bad?

Your secret fear.

Do you worry that you'll make others feel bad or sad because you are trying to be your best self? If so, I'm here to tell you, it's ok. Recognition is the first step to recovery. And it's not bad to want those closest to you to be happy. But consider this: If you're wishing happiness for them, they are wishing it for you. Let's bring happiness for all of us and forget worrying about how we'll make others feel. Instead, let's bring each other up. Bring light and joy to each other and realize in being our best selves, we're making those who really care about us, happy too. 

Photo by Grant Ritchie on Unsplash

Hear the audio reading of this post on Happiness Abound, the Podcast: Episode 44