Human beings are social creatures. How we feel about society, and how we feel about ourselves within our community is a very, VERY important thing. This shit is hard-wired in us, so it is important that we learn our programming.
The concept below is some personal philosophy I have been working on for a few years now. I hope you find something in these thoughts useful to your own personal growth.
An old friend of mine taught me about social fearlessness. He was an exceptionally good teacher of this particular lesson because he really walked his talk most of the time. I learned to stop giving a shit what people think of me when I am in the middle of learning something new, which is a very vulnerable place to put oneself.
Becoming fearless means learning to be vulnerable when the stakes are high. It's about being honest, having integrity and knowing what you stand for. When you are faced with a moment of social pressure to go against your own beliefs, what do you do? Do you cave immediately in order to fit in? Do you ignore your inner feelings telling you "no! stand up for yourself!" Do you pause and reflect, looking closely at your beliefs and decide carefully how to proceed?
We first have to be mindful in order to become more fearless.
We must know what things make us comfortable, and what things put us off. Being put off is a really uncomfortable feeling. Lots of things can make us feel a bit off. Somebody looks at you in a funny way that makes you feel judged. You feel put off. You go to a Yoga class for the first time and feel unwelcome by the teacher. You feel put off. You stand in front of the mirror and a voice in your head declares "you're not good enough." You feel put off."
When you are off, you are not your most powerful, truest self. You are...well a bit off. Drinking puts people off in a big way. It takes away our control and dulls our senses. It is not a drug of awakening or transformation. It is a downer and we must be mindful of this each time we indulge in it.
When you are off, you are less likely to speak your truth. You withhold your own voice. You silence yourself. You shut down. You become aloof or defensive. What is holding you back from saying what is really on your mind? Why can't you find balance between what you think and what you say? Communication is like a super power. If your mouth, heart and mind are not communicating properly then your super power is being blocked. When you align these three centers of energy you can become a truer, more powerful version of yourself who appears fearless.
I don't know if we ever really stop being afraid, and maybe fear isn't totally "bad." Things will arouse fear anytime your consciousness is in a state of change. You are always going through some stage in the transformation process. Sometimes the transitions between phases in our cycles can be, well, scary. We manifest things that challenge us. To me it feels like a test from the Universe to see if I am really ready for the next stage.
When fear arises, especially the fear of not belonging, it is important to continue practicing mindfulness.
Observing the way you feel. If you feel off you must do what you can to bring yourself back into alignment. All parts of you must be communication clearly for you to navigate these shifts as your best possible Self.
You must find your personal power. You must connect to your true voice and let it come through without letting your fear block that growth.
Practicing social fearlessness means bringing your best Self to the stage whenever you feel challenged or afraid. It means not getting defensive, but instead choosing to become more self reflective. I think of it as taking my power back. When I am angry at someone it is like giving them a power over me. I do not like that feeling and so I have decided not to anger, but rather to reflect and choose compassion and understanding instead of anger.
It is a process, so be patient and kind with yourself as you navigate your abilities to consciously evolve your Self.
I love you. Journey on.