Bringing “who we are” out into the light takes courage and practice. The fear that often accompanies ‘being seen’ comes from deeply embedded stories that we have acquired over a lifetime. “What will people think?” or “I don’t deserve this” become barriers that prevent us from experiencing the joy that is available to us if we can take those steps that reveal our authentic selves to others.
In her book, Daring Greatly, Brene Brown describes a dynamic at play here this way – “The importance of social acceptance and connection is reinforced by our own brainchemistry – we are hard wired for connection and the pain that results from social rejection is disconnection, and real pain” And since we tend to want to avoid pain if at all possible, we often choose to stay along the safety of the sidelines, where the risk of being judged or failing is limited. But if we truly desire a life of ‘wholeness’, we must believe that we are worthy of it first. This takes cultivation through regular practice and, if you are new to this, is best done initially in the safety of those who love and care about you. Reveal yourself to those who have earned the position of trusted supporter and with whom you can risk being vulnerable. Emotional exposure of any kind can be hard, but it is easier when you know that those who will see you, love you as you are.
Evaluating our worthiness by the reaction of others is common, and is a guaranteed way to limit our life potential and possibilities. There will always be critics, most of whom live in a world of ‘judging others’ because of the pain and insecurity they feel about themselves. Compassion is all you can offer them. However, the loudest voice of judgment and doubt comes from someplace much closer to home – our own mind. When the familiar refrains such as “When I have more experience….”, “When I lose weight…”, “When I get all of this other stuff done…” arise, see if you can shift this kind of fear based self talk into the direction of self-kindness. Appreciating the beauty of our imperfections can be a wonderful way to loosen the chains that keep your from revealing your authentic self to the world.