There's a fascinating thing that I've learned on my journey: The more we're willing to show up for life, the more life is willing to show up for us. As we become more comfortable allowing ourselves to be seen in all of our colors, as we share our stories more openly, we start to heal ourselves.
And how exactly do we heal?
Showing up and being seen requires that we practice vulnerability. When we take on this as a intentional practice, we start to understand that being vulnerable is no longer a weakness—but a great act of courage. Allowing others to see our shadow, being willing to let those close to us know we need help, stripping away the false pretenses and masks we've carefully crafted... Those are valiant acts of bravery. Cour is the root for the word courage, meaning heart in French. As we show up and be seen, we allow our hearts to be seen in their totality. Courage becomes the healing salve of the heart.
As we practice showing up and allowing our hearts to be seen, we learn to trust ourselves and the flow of life more. We see that our worst fears of rejection, denial, and repudiation were fictional characters created by our minds. They live in a fictional world of our false belief. Separating truth from illusion is one of the greatest remedies to heal the maladies of the soul.
Showing up means we take responsibility for what we're feeling, rather than shutting down or shunning aspects of our shadow. It's a healing act of power to take back those parts of ourselves we've long denied and hidden away from the world. From that place of ownership, we find that we can move gracefully through challenging emotional states or moments of discomfort without the hangups we used to have. They seem to pass through us more quickly, with less mental gripping.
Being seen, we become REAL HUMAN BEINGS, not masked and manufactured versions of ourselves we only want the world to see. Sister, living as that fragment of yourself, that only piece you're willing to accept as "OK," that is the exact opposite of wholeness (ie. healing). Being seen in our totality we start to let go of the stories we've allowed define who we are. The more we share, the more we realize we're not alone in our experience. That my story is her story, and her story is mine. Looking at and owning our story brings us into a space where we can start to rewrite how we move forward in the world.
And this isn't just about us. As we show up as whole, beautiful, imperfect human beings, we also give others permission to be real too. We invite wholeness and healing in others. In turn, they not only trust us more, but they feel safe to show up and be seen as well.
I also want to remind you that if you show up and you are not received, or you are judged, or your experience is invalidated by someone telling you to "Just be positive," "Calm down," or that "Everything's going to be fine," that is a reflection of THEM and not of you.
My experience working with shame and vulnerability has shown me that quite often, the exact thing others are quick to judge are in precise correlation with what aspects of shadow they're unwilling to accept in themselves. My mind goes to the politician who wants to drug test all food stamp recipients and then turns around and gets busted for cocaine possession. Or the religious leader who vehemently condemns greed and gluttony and then goes to jail for embezzling money from the church.
What happens when we start to peel away the masks we've long hidden under is that it can make others around us rather uncomfortable. They start to realize, "Oh shit, I have a heavily decorated mask myself. I'm not ready to deal with what's under there." Your wholeness can actually bring up the deepest fears in those around us. If they're still unwilling to do the work to understand themselves, there's nothing you can do for them but continue to love them anyways.