by Melanie Votaw –
We all spend a great deal of time hiding our true selves from others. Why do we do this? Well, we believe we must in order to protect ourselves from harm – sometimes physical harm, but usually emotional harm.
In fact, we become so good at hiding that we lose our grip on our true selves. We pretend to ourselves as much as we pretend to others. But in order to be genuinely happy, we each have to relocate that unique real self that came into this world. Only then can anyone connect with his or her life purpose.
If you watch children carefully enough, you can see them gradually learning how to hide themselves. As toddlers, they are usually blissfully themselves, and this is exactly why we find them so delightful. No pretense, no politeness, no hiding. Of course, when a toddler points out that someone is bald, this is hardly behavior to emulate as an adult. However, the joy with which a toddler experiences the world is a wonderful example to follow. This essence of joy, pleasure, and fun is your birthright.
When discontent with work and career begins to set in, it’s good news.
It means you’re no longer comfortable living a life that is untrue to your real self. It means you don’t want to hide anymore, and as a result, contentment is finally possible. But the discontent often comes before the ability to connect with the real self underneath all of the years of hiding. Reconnecting can feel daunting, but it’s a journey well worth taking.
Begin by simply noticing when you hide yourself in life.
Check in with yourself to see if you’re expressing what you truly feel or if you’re saying something else. There will be times when hiding a little bit is appropriate, such as when the truth might needlessly hurt someone else’s feelings. But there will be other times when you can choose to let go of the fear and let others truly see you. There will be times when you can say what you really mean even if it feels risky. We hide to avoid conflict and pain, but the act of hiding is often what causes the greatest pain and conflict.
The more you notice the moments when you hide, the more in touch with your real feelings, impulses and preferences you will become.
As you peel away the onion to reveal your essence – the real you – there will be much more clarity about your purpose and many other areas of your life.
Choices will be much easier to make because you will know yourself deeply and intimately – the you that is absolutely unique, precious, and divine. As you allow the real you to be seen and experienced by others, you will feel genuinely loved for who you are.