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Letting Ourselves Be Seen August 25, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Mindfulness, People, Spirit & Ego.

I’d rather be disliked for who I am than loved for who I am not.

If I pretend to be someone I’m not and people like me . . . I’ve gained nothing, because they’ve fallen in love with a “mask.”

And if they don’t like the “pretend me,” I’m left wondering if the real me would have fared better. 

As we move from an ego-orientation to a more spiritual awareness, we realize that we are enough . . . as we are.

We stop striving to be who THEY want us to be and let ourselves be seen.

We realize that our perfection lies in our imperfection.  We accept the “what is” as it is.  We stop analyzing others to find their “fault lines” and realize that who they are is not an issue we need to tackle.

When we know who WE are . . . we know how to live. ~ Goethe

For a funny and enlightening TED talk on Letting Ourselves Be Seen:  Ubantu (Creating Reciprocity).

Quote:  He who trims himself to suit everyone else will soon whittle himself away. ~ Raymond Hull

No rules.  Just write!

Related posts:  To Agree Or Disagree * Desiderata . . . Desired Things * A Study of Contrasts * The Courage to Be Free * Unusual Angles * Speak Your Truth . . . Quietly and Clearly

Artwork by Maitte Van Arsdel ~ available at Island Gallery West.


1. faeriemagic - August 25, 2011

So my question Nancy is this … what if we go through many changes of what we want and how we live our lives and to people this may look like we have changed but we aren´t trying to wear a mask but just become more ourselves. This is a challenge for both myself and the people around me as well because it looks like I have changed but just exploring who I am at the core.

nrhatch - August 25, 2011

That’s the point . . . it doesn’t really matter what THEY think about YOU.

Happiness, Integrity, and Authenticiy go hand in hand. When what we think, what we say, and what we do are in harmony, we’re happy ~ even if nobody else understands who we are. 🙂

Never worry about changing, growing, and evolving . . . that’s what we are here to do. It’s stagnation that should concern us.

When we worry about our image with others, we stagnate. Instead of blooming fully, we hold ourselves back. We wear the “mask” they’re used to seeing so they recognize us. If we haven’t seen someone for awhile, we revert back to old behaviors to make THEM feel comfortable, making ourselves feel uncomfortable.

And in the process, we start to lose who we are.
Be the best YOU that you can be.

Some will not understand. Some may leave. That’s OK. Keep emerging.

2. Carl D'Agostino - August 25, 2011

It is a valuable skill to see and see through the masks of others as we try not to wear the same ourselves.

nrhatch - August 25, 2011

Our refusal to wear masks often causes their masks to slip.

They are so used to people’s routine pretense that authenticity throws them for a loop.

They use all their old “tricks” to get us to step back in line ~ trying to shame or guilt us into behaving in accordance with THEIR view of the world. But when we know that we are ENOUGH as we are, their approval doesn’t really matter any more. So they can’t shame or guilt us into submission. We are no longer “lap dogs.”

When we resist, they persist. And the mask starts slipping . . . we see anger, confusion, fear peeking out through the facade of self-assurance. They want us to be predictable. When we are not, the uncertainty causes them to reveal who they really are.

Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable to their anger and disapproval helps us emerge more fully.

3. jeanne - August 25, 2011

It is refreshing to meet someone who is REAL all of the time…thank you for being that person.

Thank you for your encouraging words an comments over at my little piece of the blogosphere. Today I am spreading a bit of Liebster Love. Please stop by and pick up your daily dose of Love! Thanks for being my cyber buddy.

nrhatch - August 25, 2011

Thanks, Jeanne!

What I’ve noticed over the course of blogging is that some of my comments rub people the wrong way ~ because I don’t always say what “they” want to hear.

But, in time, if they keep reading my comments, they realize that what they first perceived as “arrogance” on my part is just inner confidence.

It’s not an ego thing . . . it’s a willingness to just be who I am and see who gravitates towards me and who runs away screaming, “She’s mad, I tell you! Mad!”

(A few have.) 😉

When you have time, listen to the TED talk. It’s awesome. About becoming whole hearted ~ when we allow ourselves to be “vulnerable,” we become invincible.

I’ll check out your post after Water Aerobics.

Thanks for being my cyber buddy! 😀

4. SuziCate - August 25, 2011

Exactly! I only regret I didn’t believe this when I was a teenager. But what freedom we get when we embrace ourselves for who we are!

nrhatch - August 25, 2011

Same here. This one thing (of all others I’ve learned in my life) has been the most conducive to inner peace.

We have as many reputations as acquaintances and NONE is accurate. Be who you are. Here. Now.

5. Maggie - August 25, 2011

It’s better to be a first-rate version of yourself than a second-rate version of someone else. I forget who said that quote…

nrhatch - August 25, 2011

That is a GREAT quote!

6. LittleMissVix - August 25, 2011

Very true – we have to be oursleves and love that person. To thine own self be true is still a worthy quote.

nrhatch - August 25, 2011

Indeed, it is! One of my faves, along with Know Thyself. ~ The Oracle at Delphi. 😀

7. William D'Andrea - August 25, 2011

All I am capable of being is myself. When I was going to school, I was not well liked. I was bullied and abused for being different. I was often asked, “Why can’t you be more like the other kids?”

When I did try to to act like the othe kids, I was asked, “Why don’t you think for yourself?”

I figured I just couldn’t win.

In all the years since then, I have just gone on being myself. As a result, people now speak better of me.

Over the past few years I’ve heard myself called, “A very good person.” “A righteous man.” “One of the most together people I know. Much more than most.” “One of the most financially sound people I know.” And someone I hightly respect has told me, “I’m honored to know you.”

Just be yourself, and try to behave, and who knows what good things people might say about you?

nrhatch - August 25, 2011

Sounds like who you are is who you want to be. Go you! 😀

At this point in my life, my choices don’t depend much on what others are saying about me ~ good, bad, or indifferent.

Since others don’t have a clear perspective on the inner motivation behind my actions, their opinions matter very little in how I choose to behave. 😉

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. ~ Dr. Seuss

8. Tilly Bud - August 25, 2011

I’ve always been too impulsive to be anything other than myself, but sometimes I am different depending on who I’m with/where I am. We are multi-faceted, which isn’t the same as putting on a mask.

nrhatch - August 25, 2011

You’re right. It’s not. Sometimes I’m serious. Sometimes I’m silly. Sometimes I’m happy. Sometimes I’m sad.

If I’m sad, I don’t pretend to be happy to suit others. If I’m happy, I don’t pretend to be sad to suit others. Etc.

Only we know if we are being true to ourselves . . . or trying to please others by sacrificing who we really are. 😀

9. Rosa - August 25, 2011

I think it can be hard enough to ‘find’ ourselves and figure out just who we are- for us! When we let other people start telling us who we are, it just gets muddled!

nrhatch - August 25, 2011

When I first started asking myself, “What do YOU want to do?,” I couldn’t answer the question.

I was so accustomed to making decisions based on the preferences of others, I didn’t even know how to tune in to my inner wisdom.

Now I do.

Looking within for guidance is far simpler than considering everyone else’s views about what to eat, wear, say, think, or do. 😀

10. kateshrewsday - August 25, 2011

Thanks for this, Nancy. There is an awful dissonance when one is trying to ‘model’ behaviour: deep down we know something is wrong and it causes such discomfort. There are days when I can simply be me, and others when it takes work to stay true to myself. I much prefer the former, but it’s worth the effort on the other days.

nrhatch - August 25, 2011

It is hard work to stay true to ourselves . . . when everyone else is encouraging us to “follow their lead.”

11. crumbl - August 25, 2011

Isn’t it funny how the people who want you to “follow their lead” are the ones on the elephant’s back (okay, horse’s … whatever) and you’re the one with a big butt in the face and a lotta crap to slog through?

I have my “game” face … my personality doesn’t lend itself to success at my work, so I invented a “me” that works, but like a suit and tie, I take it off when I come home. I can create a persona, like any actor in a play, but at the end of the day, I can’t lie to myself.

nrhatch - August 25, 2011

Bwahaha! You made me laugh . . . elephant butt IS a tough act to follow! 😛

It’s fine to play a role from time to time, as long as we don’t sacrifice our values or lower our expectations in the process. We have to be able to look ourselves in the mirror at night.

If we know we “cut corners” at the urging of others, our lack of integrity mars the reflection of who we want to be.

12. barb19 - August 25, 2011

It has taken me a long time to stop being what other people want me to be. This is the real “me” now and it’s been very liberating.
I’ve had comments from friends saying I’ve changed (don’t we all?), but they either accept me for who I am, or don’t – it’s their problem, not mine.
I am unique – there is only one me! Enjoy it!

nrhatch - August 25, 2011

Yay, you! 😀

It is so incredibly freeing to stop expending energy to protect our “reputation” with others . . . and focus instead on being the best WE can be.!

13. barb19 - August 25, 2011

It feels wonderful and I wish I’d had the courage to do it years ago.

nrhatch - August 25, 2011

The TED talk addresses finding that courage (from the French for whole-hearted) ~ and what happens when we do. 😀

* It’s easier to ask for what we want . . . because we don’t worry about being rejected.

* It’s easier to say what we mean . . . because we don’t worry if others disagree.

We’re FREE at last!

We’ve knocked down the prison walls we constructed around ourselves to protect ourselves from potential rejection.

barb19 - August 25, 2011

It’s a brilliant talk Nancy – got the hubs and son listening to it as I speak!
It’s very inspiring, thanks for sharing.

nrhatch - August 25, 2011

My pleasure. I loved it ~ her presentation skills are stellar.

14. Naomi - August 26, 2011

Well said, Nancy. I absolutely love that quote from Goethe. Will check out the link…

nrhatch - August 26, 2011

I expect that you will love her presentation style ~ and she makes some powerful points about happiness as it relates to being willing to be vulnerable, to put ourselves out there, without worrying about the reaction we might or might not receive.

15. adeeyoyo - August 26, 2011

I love this:

Quote: He who trims himself to suit everyone else will soon whittle himself away. ~ Raymond Hull

nrhatch - August 26, 2011

Wonderful image . . . shaving off the “offending” bits to suit others reminds me of Cinderella’s step sisters. Eww . . .

16. Team Oyeniyi - August 26, 2011

Very true. I’ve been saying for years I’m happy in my own skin. If people don’t like me as I am, I’m too old to worry about it! I was never one that worried much about peer group pressure, even when I was at boarding school. I think I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drum.

You can please some of the people some of the time…..

nrhatch - August 26, 2011

These days, I definitely have a “love me or leave me” approach to life . . . and blogging.

If I write a post about Zebras, and someone decides that I should have written about Giraffes, I just laugh. Especially if they start arguing with me about the Giraffes THEY created in their own mind.

I remind them the post was about Zebras. 😛

17. Who Was That Masked Man, Anyway? « JannaTWrites's Blog - August 28, 2011

[…] Nancy at Spirit Lights the Way also had a recent post on (figuratively) wearing masks.  Click this …

18. ElizOF - August 28, 2011

I love TED Talks and have been listening to a batch lately. After a certain age, if we can’t be but who we are… the alternative would be a real waste of time. 🙂

nrhatch - August 28, 2011

Wouldn’t it? And yet I am constantly faced with people who want me to “get in line” and be who they want me to be.

For example ~ I went to an Open House at a local theatre. We bumped into a realtor we had worked with when moving here two years ago. She didn’t ask how we were, or whether we were happy . . . she asked whether we were “established.”

What, like a tree?
Put down roots?

I laughed and said, “We’re as established as we want to be.”

She then launched into all the things that we should/could do to get MORE established . . . not hearing me at all. 😀

Silly rabbits.

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