The Person You’re Afraid to Be

Most of us have two faces we wear. The “public face”, which is carefully cultivated to give the best impression possible, and the “secret face”. The secret face is the person we really are, when no one is watching.

One man, with two faces on the mirror

Most of us are afraid to show our secret face in public. So our public faces are polished, and present a carefully crafted fiction of who would and what we are.

The irony is, we hide our secret face because we want people to like us. We want them to approve of us. The very approval you seek, the very response you most want to receive from people, can only be yours once you become the person you are afraid to be. For many years, I kept the spiritual side of my life shrouded and hidden from public view. I thought, as many do, that business and spirituality did not belong together. But more truthfully, I was concerned that people I respected would think I was a little bit crazy to believe the things that I believe.

The person I was afraid to be was the real me.

One day, God made it perfectly clear He was tired of being my best kept secret. So I surrendered, and faced my fear. I made a public declaration of who I really am, stripped off my mask, and showed my secret face.

Some people were shocked, and ceased to listen to what I had to say. Some wanted to pick a fight with me about my beliefs. Some mocked and made fun of me (some still do.) I'm okay with that.

I'm okay with it, because the person I was afraid to be was the very person that others were praying would show up. That's my tribe. It may be a small, modest tribe. But what would've happened if I had not planted my flag on that hill, and said “here I stand.”

What about you? Who is the person you are afraid to be? And who is waiting for you to show your secret face?

Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at

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  • RoycePhillips1

    Ray, thank you for this insightful post – it truly resonated with me. I have been praying very specifically about this during my daily prayer time. I appreciate your transparency and your tremendous example.

  • Brian Gardner

    You must be reading my mind, or my blog — or both, as this is exactly what I’m struggling with right now. My current audience isn’t what I would call “exclusively Christian”, so I have fears that I will scare away those who read. The irony in all of this is that as followers, we are called to make fishers of men, and to speak about Him boldly.

    Guess I’ve got some thinking (and work) to do. 🙂

  • Great post Ray….That day was and is a scary day for us…the day we let the world know who God made and what our purpose is.

  • Spot on, Ray.

    The irony of the mask is cruel. The more people love, admire and respect the mask the deeper our sense of guilt, shame and “unloveableness” becomes. People love the mask so they couldn’t possibly love the person behind it!

    Leaning into who we are as image bearers, as those redeemed at infinite value is the place where we find what we seek from the mask. When He graciously gives it, we soon tire of holding the mask.

    Thanks for sharing your story. Would that it were everyone’s story!

  • Wow this is refreshing to read Ray. As you said, when we do let ourselves be seen as we are( not that the process is easy), we release ourselves to stop caring about the voices we heard or often feared in the first place. This was a great reminder at a perfect time.

  • Dan Tredo

    I’ve always been scared to show my belief in Christ in public. It was worse years ago but its still there and I hate it. I know its centered in the fear of being different, fear of rejection, fear of being ridiculed, etc etc. It makes me angry and I know God knows all about it. When I saw you ‘come out of the closet’ this year Ray it inspired me and gave me more permission. I want to be bolder.

  • John Evdemon

    What a wonderfully simple yet inspiring post. Thanks for sharing.

  • Derek McCullar

    This is really helpful to me right now. I am deciding on a brand name for my podcast. I too have that “spiritual” secret face. What I believe to be true is super extreme to some, and very offensive to others.

    I see how showing this huge part of me would help to niche down. My true tribe will show up to hear what I have to say, when I am honest. I have been teetering back and forth with the idea of holding back, or just going for it.