If you’ve ever put something new out into the world – something creative or entrepreneurial, for instance – you can probably identify with the words of one of my fabulously talented friends:
“I’m afraid of being seen. I’m also afraid of not being seen.”
How can those two feelings coexist? For many, there’s a part of us that wants to perform. We want to be noticed, acknowledged and applauded. Do we want to win an Oscar? Yes, please. It would mean you like me… right now… you like me.
There’s also a part of us that simply wants to blend in and lay low. That way, we’re not exposed or subject to judgment. Our dreams and visions can be held closely within us, without the risk that reality might not match the fantasy.
[pullquote]The authentic self is the soul made visible.
~Sarah Ban Breathnach[/pullquote]
This week marks the return of the ultimate in being seen, “America’s Got Talent.” Fabulous or flop, I admire every single person who gets up there and dares to be seen. We may laugh or feel embarrassed for those who don’t measure up to the standards we’ve set for those who entertain us. But within each performer is a vulnerable core that is afraid of being seen and not being seen. They know that they may be buzzed and booed off the stage. The risk is worth it. For those moments, they feel fully alive and in their truth. They give it all they’ve got. They say, “this is who I am and what I do, like it or not!” (case in point: Hannibal Means!)
It’s inspiring to me. Maybe it’s my introverted nature, maybe it’s something else, but I’ve always assumed that people who meet me once won’t remember who I am the next time they see me. It’s a rather sad assumption. Perhaps it’s part of why I have a bigger fear of NOT being seen than of being seen. Oh, being seen scares me, too… it means that someone might judge me and decide to buzz me off the stage.
Yet in the end, that fear has little power over me, certainly not enough to stop me from taking off my mask and baring my soul. We’re all put on this earth to be seen, and to shine as magnificent beings. We’re not always going to understand each other, or even like each other. That’s OK. It’s up to each of us how much power or energy we give those who don’t resonate with us.
When we see and are seen though love, that’s all that really matters.