There have been times in my life that I knew something to be true, but denied its existence because I couldn't change it. I would have to admit I hid from it. Whether avoiding the pain by not looking at it, or fearing the blindness it might bring, the results were the same.
We all have the opposing desires to both cloister our inner selves in order to hide aspects of ourselves from others, and also to expose our inner selves to others. We feel deeply that we want those around us to know us, to embrace what is truly us, to accept, respect, and love us for what we are, but yet instinctively we fear the cold glare of both strangers and friends alike. Do we fear ourselves that much? (Or, do we fear pain? See previous post.)
In thinking about this idea it is telling that the simple act of just accepting someone can bring that person to tears, especially if there is a perceived negative aspect or shame in the hidden or undisclosed. Acceptance is powerful stuff. Yet, that opposing desire to hide, driven by fear of rejection, keeps us from knowing and being known.
We talk about knowing ourselves and finding ourselves. If you think about it this is quite an odd concept - finding ourselves. It even sounds silly, but we all relate. How? If we do find ourselves that means previously we have been either lost or blinded, but most likely hiding from ourselves. Few of us are completely lost and if we are blinded to certain things it is usually permanent. So, finding ourselves (think smaller scale...perhaps, not in the grand sense, but in smaller, subtle ways - but, none-the-less damaging) is not really finding anything. It is not hiding. When we are transparent we can then know and be known - real connections, real relationships, real life. Remember, we talking about degrees. Few have no real relationships, but few have the transparency that allows us to be truly known.
I would be the first to admit that it is no simple task to allow our foibles, imperfections, fears, or whatever out there, but as in most things simply acknowledging a thing eliminates its power. Leigh, a good friend, said it like this:
"I believe that we are born with the imprint of personality and that we inherit certain biological structures, processes, and tendencies, but that who we mostly are is the culmination of profound experience and the impact that those experiences have on our emotional, psychological, and spiritual development. I think that those three, emotional, psychological, and spiritual are interconnected and inseparable. What impacts one area also impacts the others. I don't know how you feel about it, but I always find it interesting to stretch our internal selves. I think it's the only way we grow, and that if we aren't progressing, then we are digressing because change is ongoing and nothing remains in stasis. Our society pushes Intellectual pursuit as a big thing, and it's a good thing, but for me it's just the acquisition of cultural, and other, information and does not necessarily encourage growth in the big three areas that I think are vital for functioning. In fact I think that for a lot of people it becomes a shield that they use to protect themselves so that no one can see how truly vulnerable they are feeling."
She is right on.