When I was a kid I thought that if I closed my eyes that other people couldn’t see me. I became invisible.
I remember one time standing at the end of our neighbor’s driveway with my dad and Mr. Kowal whose storm drain I had dropped the ladder to my fire truck down. They were discussing how to get it out. Fearing I was in trouble and feeling shame about it I stood behind my dad, holding onto his pant leg, and closed my eyes certain that I was invisible.
Growing up my feelings weren’t always welcomed so, in my child’s mind, I created a belief that if I kept them hidden then I would be loved and cared for. I felt shame for having feelings and hid them even from myself. If I kept my true self-hidden in this way no one would be able to see the real me. The me who was deeply flawed and full of shame. I became invisible.
As an adult, I am now able to recognize that when I am disconnected from myself there is a part of me that wants to be seen and heard. If I ignore that part then she feels invisible.
When I talk about inviting in my boldness and my truth this year I am talking about allowing my true self to become more visible. Both to myself and to others. Whatever that looks like. No matter how messy it gets and let me tell you it does get messy.
How do we stop closing our eyes and let ourselves be seen?
We FEEL our feelings, we SPEAK our truth, we ALLOW ourselves to show up and let our voices be HEARD. We find a trusted friend, therapist or coach to listen to us as we fumble through life. Most importantly, we stop judging and shaming ourselves at how we are showing up and we just plain show up! Vulnerable and powerful.
The past few weeks I’ve been bouncing between the emotions of anger, fear, hopelessness and trust, hope and love. I can feel the more constricting emotions running just below the surface, peeking around the corners, and yet not wanting to feel them. I kept choosing the more expansive emotions, yet the others wanted voice and kept pulling me back until I acknowledged and expressed them, to myself. By expressing the more constricting emotions I became fully present and visible to myself and was then able to be open and vulnerable with a trusted group of friends. I felt connected, real, and seen. This opened a door for us all to be visible to each other.
All of our emotions are good. The only negative emotion is one that goes unexpressed. If we don’t befriend anger and fear we won’t fully feel our joy or love.
When we are able to express a full range of emotions, become visible to ourselves and others, we allow in more love, more joy and more connection. Our genuine needs get met. Life is Juicier!
I did finally get my fire truck ladder back. My dad and Mr. Kowal did retrieve it but even today I sometimes find myself with my eyes closed trying to be invisible. The difference is that now I am able to see that small child and take care of her so she can feel safe to keep her eyes and heart wide open.
In what ways and in what areas do you go invisible? What is one small step you can take today to let your real, vulnerable and true self be seen? To whom will you let see you in this way?