I don’t know about you, but I don’t always feel comfortable being myself.

I’ll be honest, I do have some “fear of rejection” in me that I’m constantly trying to work out and overcome. I want to be liked and appreciated for who I am! I’m sure you do too.

We’ve either had experiences ourselves or, at the very least, KNOW someone who has been rejected just for being themselves. It’s sad, really.

But how often do we keep our guard up to self-protect, only to regret it later?

I once almost did a lip sync/air guitar cover of “We Built This City” by Starship at my church (long story…cool church). We all wore wigs and sunglasses while we rehearsed. I lip sang and danced all over the stage…so much so that I was panting and out of breath. And it was fun! The whole band seemed to be loving it.

Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t have danced that way in front of anybody, anywhere, at ANY time. But for some reason, with a wig and sunglasses on, I felt protected. I felt liberated. I felt like myself.

Why did I need to put a wig on to feel like myself?

Deep down, I think we’re all a little afraid to show who we really are. That shame goes all the way back to the beginning…in the garden with Adam and Eve. They covered themselves out of shame.  They were created “naked and unashamed,” but became “covered and ashamed.” (Whether you believe that story or not, there’s still a principle to be extracted).

That principle still holds true today. That’s why teenagers tend to act and behave like the people they think are cool. Heck, that’s why adults tend to act and behave like the people they think are cool. Because we want to be accepted, liked, and appreciated.

But we’re afraid people won’t like or accept the real us.

I don’t want to dance in front of just anybody. I’m afraid they’ll think I’m a dweeb! Or some crazy person who should learn how to dance!

But should I let what other people might think of me keep me from being who I really am?

Of course not! But there are two intentional changes that have to be made in order to feel more free:

1. Stop surrounding yourself with people who judge you.

This might seem obvious, but how often are we trying to impress people that don’t even really like us? Stop it. Just stop it. It’s not worth your time or energy.

The difficult part here is deciphering who’s actually judging you and who you think is judging you. So many of us are insecure in relationships that we project our thoughts and feelings onto others. We assume people are judging us when, in fact, many times we’re just being insecure. Learn to know the difference.

2. Start surrounding yourself with people you love and trust.

Again, this is obvious, but sometimes we try so hard to get people to like us, and we forget about those that already do! Most of us have at least one person in our life who loves us just the way we are. If we spent more time with those closest to us, I think we’d find that our lives would be more enriching and fulfilling.

When we invest in good relationships, our entire lives become healthier and more enjoyable.

Do NOT underestimate the power of those you surround yourself with. We need that love and trust.

You may not ever be able to, or even want to, dance like a fool in front of total strangers. But you should have at least one person (hopefully a group of people) that you can take the wig off and be totally unashamed with. I have no shame dancing in front of my wife. She loves me and accepts me just the way I am…and she loves my quirky dancing.

And that’s enough for me.

Question: Why should you surround yourself with people you love and trust? Why do you think self-protecting is so harmful? Leave a comment below!