Last week I wrote about showing up Vs showing off and there was so much more I wanted to write that I thought I might write a mini-series instead. This week I want to talk about the power and fear of being seen.
In a world filled with constant distractions and virtual interactions, the longing to be truly seen and acknowledged has become a universal human desire. Being seen goes beyond mere visibility; it is about being recognized, understood, and accepted for who we are at our core. When we allow ourselves to be seen authentically, we invite meaningful connections, personal growth, and a profound sense of fulfilment. Today, we will explore the significance of being seen and the transformative impact it can have on our lives.
The double-edged sword of being seen
From our early years, we crave acknowledgement and validation. As children, we seek the attention and approval of our parents, teachers, and peers. This need to be seen continues into adulthood, shaping our relationships and interactions. Being seen validates our existence, instilling a sense of belonging and self-worth.
And yet, we are so often conflicted. Being seen requires us to be vulnerable, to stand in our power and to step out of our comfort zone. It can feel scary. There’s a fear of what others think about you. You may feel like you need to conform to what others expect of you, or you may be afraid of being judged or rejected. It can be easy to feel like you need to shrink down and hide your true self from the world.
This might look like not sharing what you really think because you think you won’t sound/look good enough. Or perhaps being paralysed by self-doubt. It may look like staying at home so that your energy is drained by people or places (this can be good boundary setting but not if it’s holding you back).
I am not saying it’s easy to shrug off these fears but what I have come to realise personally is that when we hide our true selves, we are denying ourselves both the opportunity to connect with others on a deep level and to live a life that is meaningful to us. Because the truth is, we are not alone. There are people who will accept us for who we really are. We just need to find the courage to be seen. How can we re-frame our fears and tap into that innate desire we have to be seen and understood?
Authenticity and Vulnerability
To truly be seen, we must embrace authenticity and vulnerability. It requires shedding the layers of pretence and societal expectations, allowing our true selves to be visible. When we let go of the fear of judgment and rejection, we create space for genuine connections. Authenticity builds trust, fosters empathy, and cultivates deeper relationships, enabling others to see us for who we truly are.
Seeing and Being Seen in Relationships
Meaningful relationships thrive on the foundation of being seen. When we truly see others, we acknowledge their joys, sorrows, and struggles. We listen attentively, seeking to understand rather than simply respond. By creating a safe space for others to express themselves, we empower them to embrace their own authenticity. In turn, we find ourselves being seen and appreciated in return, fostering a profound sense of belonging and acceptance.
The Transformative Power of Being Seen
Being seen has a transformative effect on our personal growth and self-acceptance. When we are seen for our strengths, we gain confidence and build upon them. We allow the world to see what we have to offer. On the other hand, when our vulnerabilities and imperfections are acknowledged without judgment, we experience healing and learn to embrace our whole selves. The act of being seen can ignite our passions, inspire us to take risks, and propel us toward self-discovery and fulfilment.
Steps Toward Embracing Being Seen:
- Self-reflection: Take the time to understand your own desires, values, and aspirations. Discover what truly matters to you and embrace those aspects of yourself without reservation.
- Cultivate authenticity: Take off the mask and be yourself. Find people who accept you as you are and then allow yourself to be vulnerable and share your truth with others in your tribe.
- Active listening: Practice active listening to truly see and understand others. Create a safe space for open and honest communication, where people feel comfortable expressing themselves.
- Seek connection: Surround yourself with individuals who appreciate and celebrate your authentic self. Cultivate relationships built on trust, respect, and empathy.
- Practice self-compassion: Be kind to yourself and acknowledge that being seen is a journey. Embrace your imperfections, celebrate your successes, and give yourself the grace to grow.
- Take risks: Acknowledge any fear you might be feeling and gently allow yourself to be seen. This might mean sharing your true thoughts and feelings; going to new places/events or setting boundaries to protect yourself.
Create a world of acceptance
I believe that being seen is a fundamental human need that nourishes our souls and fuels our personal growth. When we allow ourselves to be seen authentically, we unlock the power of connection, self-acceptance, and fulfilment. Embrace your uniqueness, practice vulnerability, and seek to understand and acknowledge others.
By doing so, you invite the transformative experience of being seen into your life, and in turn, inspire others to do the same. When we show up as our true selves, we are creating a world where everyone can feel safe and accepted.
Remember, being seen is not about seeking validation from others; you are already worthy. It's about embracing your own truth and living a life aligned with your authentic self.