How often do you miss out on an opportunity because you don’t express your real interest- you’re afraid of looking too eager, or desperate? Or you don’t try something new for fear of looking foolish or inappropriate?
When I talk with people about where my life has taken me and how I got here, there’s usually a response of “wow, that’s awesome you can talk about all that!” as if I needed to keep hiding it under a rock. It’s only when you pull the string to reveal what’s behind the curtain can you begin to expose yourself to the opportunities life has in store for you.
The vulnerability of the drawn-curtain creates opportunity for self-acceptance, self-love and a greater spirituality- a deep discovery of your True Self, your Essence.
“There’s a part of every living thing that wants to become itself, the tadpole into the frog, the chrysalis into the butterfly, a damaged human being into a whole one. That is spirituality.” (Ellen Bass)
But, we are too afraid to allow the transformation to our True Selves to occur. We have fallen asleep to our own lives.
When’s the last time you attended a children’s performance, anxious to watch all the smiling (and anxious) faces as the curtain was drawn? Sure, many of them had butterflies for several hours before the performance- but did any of them refuse to go on stage? To deny themselves their right to be on stage with their friends?
As an adult, you may have been more concerned than the child that they would forget their lines, hit the wrong notes, fall off the stage, or have their costume backward!
In fact, when their leaders are assigning parts, which of the children doesn’t raise their hand and say “Pick me! Pick me!”
Why can children be so vulnerable in front of their parents or friends, even when terrified, and we as adults lose the gumption?
We think we’re not good enough. We don’t have enough talent. We’re not ready. We have too much to do. What would they think? In fact, our fears, limiting beliefs, doubt, and memories of past “failures” all get in the way.
We hide ourselves, losing contact with our Being or true nature. We are, in fact, suffocating our Spirit.
We play Chicken, and lose.
So here’s a little Tough Love about why it is important to start being more vulnerable- loosen the reins, draw the curtain, let your hair down, that will propel you to Be Your True Self.
1. Release the Kraken!
When you expose yourself, you open the door to release the internal struggles- the horrifying monsters created by your ego.
Only your ego can sustain the nagging doubts, the crippling fears of being discovered, the hidden imperfections, the limiting beliefs that hold you to the past.
Release the limiting beliefs that bind you to the monsters!
2. Rewire your Circuits.
When you reroute the energy from the protective shields you set-up to hide your True Self, the resistance lifts and energy begins to flow to your amazing Self. The new “healthy” circuit has more power to feed your strong parts, amplifying their beauty.
Begin to feed the energy that will allow you to find your hopes and dreams.
3. Find Your Shadow.
Uncovering your parts that even you don’t like allows you to recognize, accept and move forward. Carl Jung noted that “Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.”
You can only work with your shadow self if you can see it.
4. Accept where you Live.
A vulnerable acceptance allows you to be perfect as you are, in this moment.
You are here in this spot for a reason- there’s something here for you that you may not yet see. Be present to it- find the gem that’s here for you. Hafiz, the 14th century Sufi poet, wrote “This place where you are right now, god circled on a map for you.” Learning “who you are” and “who you are meant to be” are critical elements for being happy in your life. Find a way to accept this, in order to move forward.
5. Paddle into the Deep Blue Yonder.
Acceptance of your Self allows you to uncover, discover and focus on what really matters to you.
Explore your deepest desires, given you are no longer burdened by the chains of repression. “If you cannot hear the sound of the genuine in you, then you will all of your life spend your days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls” (Howard Thurman). Why not explore what could be for you? Commit to discovering something new about yourself everyday!
6. Welcome the Giving Hand.
In trying to find your true self, your vulnerability permits you to ask for help.
In fact, your gracious acknowledgement of your imperfections creates empathy and generosity among others who want to see you succeed.
People’s interest in giving to you when they see you struggling is the opposite of what we tend to think about vulnerability (the dog eat dog world). Humans and animals are so strongly programmed toward empathy, helping each other in tough situations, that it is one of the most basic instinctual responses we have to one another. Expose your weakness, or shadow self, and let others support you in your quest to Be Your True Self!
Obviously, I’m recommending that you go against the grain of what you learned and were told from about the age of 13.
Remember when your hair got oily, your pimples started blooming, and boys or girls became pretty interesting to you? Hiding your True Self became an important way to avoid the schoolyard bullies and avoid ridicule. You remember- I certainly do. The taunts, name-calling and isolation were unbearable.
So, instead of suffering, you became invisible.
And you never learned to take off your cloak.
The time is now.
It would take some balls, for you to believe that you can become something other than you are now, hiding behind the curtain.
And, what do you have to lose? Your frustration with your career, disappointment in your success, stuck-ness in life, anger with yourself and others, isolation in the crowd, disillusionment in your relationships- even your insomnia and some of your chronic pain- is related to the cloak you wear, the monsters inside being held hostage by your ego.
Release them. Be vulnerable. The world needs your True Self, not your 13-year old invisible one. What are you waiting for?
Join me on this Journey. Sign-up for the Ride. You can do it.
Holly Woods, Ph.D. uses Integral Coaching and Somatic Experiencing to help adults who are weighed down by stress or trauma, and who want to be free of the overwhelm so they can find a life full of joy and purpose. Sign up on the Right or Click Here to receive a Free Report and to receive my weekly newsletter. Please forward to a friend if you liked this post!