Fear of exposure means that you are identifying your false small self as your real self. You believe, “If people saw the real me, they would judge, criticize, reject, or laugh at me. So I will stay safe by not showing who I really am.”
But the self you fear to be exposed is not the real you. It is the ego self, an infinitesimally small self-concept compared to who you really are. The real you is whole, gorgeous, attractive, competent, brilliantly powerful, and utterly loveable. You are a magnificent divine being, far beyond the petty aspects of a frail and defensive human personality.
If you put your true self out there, several wonderful things will happen: (1) You will fee free and exhilarated as you march beyond the illusory circle that fear has inscribed around you; (2) You will be rewarded for your authentic self by people who value the real you; (3) Your project will succeed because it is founded in genuine passion.
Sure, some people may not like you or criticize what you have to offer. But they are not your friends. They do not belong to you. You do not want them, anyway. You want to walk the journey of life with people who match you, your “just right tribe.”
A Course in Miracles urges us to remember, “In my defenselessness my safety lies.” The more energy you invest in image management, the more you drift from your true power. People who trust that who they are is good enough, find the greatest inner peace and succeed the most.
My favorite example of how authenticity outshines image management is IZ, the beloved gentle giant of a Hawaiian singer who became famous for his ukulele-accompanied version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” If you listen closely to the recording, you will hear that IZ thoroughly mixes up the words to the song. They are not the original lyrics and they don’t rhyme. He just made them up as he went along. Yet despite the fact that the lyrics are quite incorrect, and, at nearly 700 pounds, he was not the image of a rock star, that album has sold many millions and has been featured in countless movies and TV shows. IZ had a heart of gold and to this day, after his passing, is deeply beloved by his friends and fans.
You don’t have to be perfect to put your gifts out there. You just have to be you.
One more tip: If you are nervous about putting yourself out there, shift the focus from “What will people think of me?” to “How can I help?” When you are worried about people’s opinion of you, you are stuck in ego. When you are dedicated to service, you are established in Spirit. Then you both visible and invincible.