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Musings for the Modern Mystic

waking up

If You Start Exhibiting This Behaviour, It’s A Sure Sign You’re “Waking Up”

Embarrassment is the response of a person who still has an ego investment in how others see him. ~ CWG, Book 1 Share on X

One of the biggest problems in our society is the tendency to assume we know what other people are thinking, and to act on that assumption in the hopes of fitting in. Often, it is not until we reach a certain level of maturity that we begin to realize that everything is projection, and, in all honesty, we can’t ever assume a thing. It’s a big part of waking up.

However, along the journey there, we must contend with it, and because of this (our actions being based on assumptions rather than reality) we experience a lot of suffering. This tendency alone, and all of the systems that have grown up around it, is responsible for a massive amount of conflict, both in our personal lives and in the world in general. Along the way there are signs, however, and while some are unmistakable, others are slow and subtle enough that they may require a little ‘heads up.’ Thats what this article is all about.

The Fear of Embarrassment

For many people, social anxiety is rooted in the fear that no matter what you do or how you act, somebody somewhere won’t like you. It’s difficult to be open with people if you’re afraid you’ll slip up in some way and embarrass yourself, and in trying to fit in with a crowd, many people, over time, lose the ability to love and accept themselves. 

They let external influences dictate their interests (i.e. they like something as long as their friends like it), and many of them give in to peer pressure and do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do just to avoid being different.

They may even act differently toward certain people if they think it’ll impress their so-called friends, and as long as they can fit in without standing out too much, they’re happy. Embarrassing themselves or becoming an outcast is their greatest fear, because on some level, they rely on validation from others to feel whole inside.

As a result, they give up their unique personal interests and conform to what the crowd likes, even if it’s potentially harmful.

If You Start Exhibiting This Behaviour, It’s A Sure Sign You’re “Waking Up” Share on X

Letting Go of the Need to Impress

When you understand that you don’t need to impress anyone — when you’ve begun waking up and started really integrating this idea — it’s possible to become far more grounded in who you truly are, and greet everyone as only slight variations (as situational etiquette may dictate) of that person, rather than the numerous distorted cut-outs you’d previously created only to please others.

Again, when we’re trying to impress, we’re automatically assuming we know what this person thinks and expects, thus judging a book by its cover while possibly being quite mistaken about this person without realizing it.

Among other reasons, this is why it’s liberating to be you, plainly and simply, and let society think whatever it wants. Some people will judge you no matter what you do or how you try to please them, yet to crave their acceptance is to set yourself up for inevitable heartbreak, because hey, you can’t please everyone.

I say NO to the demands of the world. I say YES to the longings of my own heart. ~ Jonathan Lockwood Huie Share on X

Part of Waking Up = Doing What You Love

It’s impossible to make everyone happy, because we’re all unique and we all have a different outlook on life, complete with different interests and concerns, as it should be. Therefore, the best thing you can do is, simply, what you love, even if it doesn’t impress the crowd. Then, you won’t have to worry about embarrassment or standing out (plus you’ll likely be spending so much time in the flow-state you’ll barely notice).

Some might criticize you for not following along, but others will appreciate your uniqueness and your ability to politely disregard those who try to tear you down.

When you’re being true to yourself,  you’ll likely still modify certain surface behaviours in order to simply be kind and get along in day-to-day life, but your core behaviors won’t budge, guiding you away from (or straight through, as the case may sometimes be) the aforementioned peer pressure, which gets innocent people into trouble.

You’ll gladly take a stand against something that isn’t right, and the last thing you’d do is participate in it to make someone else happy.

Authenticity vs Persona: A Delicate Balance

To reiterate, the logic is really quite simple: since we don’t know what people are thinking, we can’t make assumptions based on surface words and tendencies, therefore it would make no sense to change our behavior or conform to what we think they expect.

In the long run, this will only result in better relationships with more authentic people — those who appreciate authenticity over artificiality or attempted conformity.

Most healthy people would rather be around someone who’s real than someone with a hollow personality that does little more than reflect their interests, however, the truth of the matter is that this can be very hard to find in our society. This ‘persona’, though it has very little to do with who we truly are, exists for the sole purpose of fitting in in order that society doesn’t break down. It’s essentially a mask, and it’s a mask we all wear.

On some level, we all want to be understood and accepted by a society that casts people aside over miniscule things, so we wear these masks and we pray nobody ever sees through them.

Re-Fashioning the Mask: A Transformation Into (Semi) Transparency

There are a few people we let peek behind the mask and see our true self, but everyone else knows us only by the impression given by the mask. In a way, we aren’t even aware of who we truly are because we’re too busy trying to maintain an ego that’s cut off from our source and connected purely with the material world.

Most people are too concerned with maintaining their worldly personality to reconnect with themselves on a deeper, more authentic level, and the need to be accepted is driven by the need for the mask to survive.

For those who, for whatever reason, find themselves on the outside of society’s acceptance or attention, the mask begins to wither. This can cause a great deal of pain and grief for those who truly relied upon it.

Fortunately, death is always a new beginning. Over time, if they don’t make the mistake of adopting a newer, more negative ego out of this rejection, the true self can come to be revealed, and the genuine confidence and completeness they used to seek in validation from others can come about all on its own, and this time for real. The new mask being fashioned is semi-transparent, by design.

My philosophy is: It's none of my business what people say of me and think of me. I am what I am and I do what I do. I expect nothing and accept everything. And it makes life so much easier. ~ Anthony Hopkins Share on X

Firing The False Ego

When you can interact with someone based purely on their words and actions and get past the need to determine your self-worth by how they react to you, it’s an important initial step on the path to liberation, the path of waking up. You’ll begin the walk into true individuality and authenticity, and you’ll open the door to a life of far less struggle (even if actual circumstances haven’t changed at all) that brings with it incredible opportunities for personal and spiritual growth.

You’ll also be able to help people in a way that most others can’t, because you won’t be afraid to take a stand for justice and righteousness no matter how many enemies you gain.

Rest assured that in standing up against injustice, you’re bound to make an enemy somewhere. Yet this doesn’t bother the confident world-changers who can take rejection without letting it bring them down, as they’ve begun the work of sacrificing the false ego in favor of waking up, in favor of striving for harmony and spiritual growth.

Making it Real: The Difference Will Be Noticed

Whether or not you fight the good fight, your newfound authenticity will be apparent in your interactions with others.

They’ll respond better to someone who’s confident and willing to speak their mind even if their opinion isn’t popular, and you can inspire great conversations with like-minded people and people who think differently if you’re willing to meet them at their level.

The people in your life will notice that you no longer live to please others; instead, you live to serve others with an open heart. They’ll note the change in your outlook and the way you conduct yourself, and they’ll appreciate your willingness to suspend the overactive mind and extend yourself for their sake.

They’ll see how much more willing you are to take a stand at the expense of the false ego and offer help to those in need, and they’ll appreciate your straightforwardness and your lack of self-centeredness.

You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. ~ The Buddha Share on X

Loving Yourself: Waking Up 101

Of course,in order to achieve any of this, you first have to love yourself.

Self-love frees you from the need for approval, because it fills the void you would otherwise fill with the favorable opinions of others. The way they treat you won’t affect your attitude or your outlook on life, and your love for yourself and the world will be strong no matter what because the love won’t come from them, but from within you.

Your love will expand to the point that you can share it with the world, and you’ll share it without hesitation. Isolation and anxiety will be replaced with openness and goodwill toward others, and you’ll want to help everyone regardless of whether they’re different or whether they even like you.

You can bring people together by loving yourself and being open to a world that desperately needs love, but it’ll require you to stop caring what people think and find compassion for everyone’s struggles.

This will be impossible if you aren’t confident, but inevitable if you are, and it all starts with a return to love. Everything will fall into place from there, and you’ll evolve spiritually by leaps and bounds, waking up quite rapidly as you contribute to the effort to restore the world to a functional, workable condition.

Waking Up… To a Light-Hearted Lack of Embarrassment

To bring it full-circle, you will, at this stage, find yourself less and less embarrassed by things that are often minuscule in the big picture, because you can see this now, you’ve integrated it; you’ll see them as what they actually are: small but passable obstacles along the journey of conscious self-creation and they’ll be less of a headache and more of a learning experience. You may even find yourself having a good chuckle about things that previously would’ve mortified you.

Congratulations! You’ve stopped taking yourself so seriously, and really begun lightening up (there’s a reason they call it en-LIGHTEN-ment ;) Just as the Conversations With God quote at the beginning of this article says, your ego-investment in what others think of you has begun to lessen, and this is a primary sign of that, a primary sign of waking up.

You (yes, YOU) are a unique spark of God that came to this planet to make a difference, and you knew before your arrival that you’d have opposition. You knew you wouldn’t win the hearts of everyone, but that isn’t your job, and now you’re remembering that, AND taking on the job you did come here to do: waking people up.

Not only that, but you’re going about it the right way — not by preaching and proselytizing, but simply by doing the work yourself, by waking up, and demonstrating said rememberance by living it as an example, open to others to take, leave, judge, embrace or emulate as they may. They have your love regardless, and in no way do you expect them to reciprocate it. Even if they did, shouting it from the rooftops in a fit of manic glee and parading through the streets, declaring it to everyone who would listen… would it really be that embarrasing?

Wes Annac
Wes Annac

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