I'll just say that in my own case I think that perhaps the real breakthrough came when I could no longer deny that others saw far more in me than I did. I finally had to consider seriously the possibility that the bad feelings I had about being me were wrong.
What made this especially scary was that I had so many bad feelings about myself; if one was wrong, maybe all were wrong. Was I to reject everything I thought about being me? Where would that leave me? I didn't know, and that was the real risk, I guess.
We just have to be willing to take the risks, Mark, or at least that's what my experience tells me. I will say, though, that it was a lot easier to do that with the support I received here.
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me. (Woody Guthrie)